Just at that moment, a man is seen walking down the road. The sun points him out to the wind and suggests that whoever can persuade him to remove his coat is clearly the greater of the two. The wind agrees.
Anyway the wind decides to try first. It blows and blusters and buffets the man - trying to obtain its objective. The trouble is the harder it blows the tighter the man clutches his coat to his form.
So the wind tries harder - until it blows the leaves from the trees and the birds from the sky. But to no avail. The only thing the wind can achieve is to make the man cling to his coat for dear life.
Frustrated and exhausted, the wind admits defeat and makes way for the sun to try.
Well the sun steps up and starts to softly shine on the man. It gently glows and then brightly beams... and pretty soon the man is not just unbuttoning his coat, but removing it altogether!
And the moral of the story? "Gentle persuasion is stronger than force."
Now there is a reason I'm sharing this childhood memory. I've been pondering the question, "Who do we emulate when we are discussing our beliefs with others - the wind, or the sun?"
Are we so convinced of our own righteousness, that we bully and bluster, threatening hellfire and damnation, in an attempt to compel people to agree with us, to enforce our absolute "Truth" upon our listeners? Are we harsh in our interactions with others, 'justifying' it as defending "The Word"?
Is disagreement rejected out-of-hand? Do we use scripture verses to beat others into submission? Do we pour scorn on anyone who dares to suggest a different way of interpreting them?
Or do we shine with the warmth of love and kindness? Are we gentle with the vulnerable? Do we speak softly to the broken? Do we make it pleasant (and safe) to sit and talk for a while?
And in meditating on these things, I think I may have stumbled on something of value!
Maybe - just maybe - people would respond more positively to our message if we tried a little more warmth and little less icy blast!
What do you think?