I loved playing with Silly Putty as a kid. Its consistency is so strange that it seems to originate from another planet. It’s so unnatural–sometimes it acts like a solid and other times a *liquid. I still find Silly Putty so amazing that I even keep a container of it in my counseling office! Partly to play with, but mostly to demonstrate to my clients how people are just like Silly Putty.
How to make Silly Putty — and People — become SOLID.
If you take Silly putty and roll it into a ball, you can throw it on the ground and it will bounce back up, just like a superball. In fact, the harder you throw it, the resistance increases, causing a bigger bounce. Amazingly, no matter how hard you throw it, it doesn’t change its shape at all! It stays exactly the same.
People are just like this–I know I am. If you treat me roughly, I will instinctively resist you. Abrasiveness, criticism, and confrontation don’t produce growth, but instead put us on the defensive. When we feel attacked, our brains immediately go into “fight-or-flight mode with self-protection as our natural response. We don’t learn, change, or grow when approached with harshness, shame, or blame.
How to make Silly Putty — and People — become LIQUID.
In contrast, if you are gentle with Silly Putty, it behaves like a liquid. If you lightly press and ever-so-gently tug it, it soon becomes so pliable that it almost runs.
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Galatians 6:1 …if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently…
Scripture asserts that tenderness is the path to great transformative power. And it’s not only true, but it works! In my counseling office, I’ve seen firsthand, that gentleness is the pathway to genuine, lasting change.
So if we desire to be influential in helping people change for the better, let’s approach that task with great gentleness.
*Silly Putty, according to Wikipedia contains viscoelastic liquid silicones, a type of non-Newtonian fluid, which makes it act as a viscous liquid over a long time period but as an elastic solid over a short time period.