A Soft Answer
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. ~Proverbs 15:1
Publius once wisely said, “I have often regretted my speech, but never my silence.” I think all of us can think of one or more times when we answered or reacted too quickly to something said to us and, later, regretted that we spoke too soon. Solomon said in a later proverb that “a fool uttereth all his mind.” This morning, let us examine the virtue of a soft answer.
We see a common reality.
In life, we are faced with many different confrontational situations. The way someone approaches us, speaks to us, or asks us a question can be received as threatening, invasive, insulting, or “in our face.” Some people have abrasive and rude personalities, and the way they communicate can be received in a wrong manner. Some people might be under great demands and pressures and can come across as being abrupt and impatient. We must realize that some people we have to deal with are lacking in good communication skills.
We see the carnal reaction.
“Grievous words stir up anger.” We can have an adverse reaction to someone who comes across to us as rude, impatient, threatening, or insulting. We react with grievous words. We snap back at the person. We answer back with an indignant tone. We say something back that is harsh and equally insulting. We have a carnal reaction. We react in the flesh. We allow our defensive mechanisms to unleash ungodly words. We take a situation that we could have nullified and make it a firestorm. We make an enemy instead of sowing peace. We wound the spirit of the other person because we were not quick to hear and slow to wrath.
We see the controlled response.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Instead of grievous words, we must be under the power of the Holy Spirit and respond with a soft answer. A soft answer is responding back in a peaceful tone. It is humbling ourselves at that moment and saying to the other person, “I’m sorry; did I say something wrong to you?” It is responding in a controlled and Christian manner. It is seeking to be a friend and not make an enemy. It is seeking to encourage and not to escalate. It is being wise in our handling of the situation.
We see the congenial result.
An appropriate answer turns away wrath. Paul Van Gorder of the Our Daily Bread devotional tells the story of an old Englishman, known as Father Graham in his village, who was greatly loved because of his positive influence. One day, an angry young man who had just been badly insulted came to see Father Graham. As he explained the situation, he said he was on his way to demand an apology from the one who had wronged him. “My dear boy,” Father Graham said, take a word of advice from an old man who loves peace. An insult is like mud; it will brush off better when it is dry. Wait a little, till he and you are both cool, and the problem will be easily solved. If you go now, you will only quarrel.” The young man heeded the wise advice, and soon he was able to go to the other person and resolve the issue.
The world we live in is filled with people vented up with anger and hostility. Let us heed the counsel of Solomon regarding the tone and the timing of our words. “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”
Have a Spirit-controlled God Morning!
Bible Reading: Luke 6-7