Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A soft answer

A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.  – Proverbs 15v1

I have mentioned before that I am one of those people who has a big problem. I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut. No matter what the situation I always seem to think that my view is important. That problem extends to discussions and even rows. I always seem to have to say something.

This problem manifests itself worst when I am in a ‘heated discussion.’ I tend to be convinced that my view is right and anyone who doesn’t come into line needs to get themselves sorted out. .

These discussions, if left unchecked, can become rows and even fights. There comes a point when if someone does not diffuse it the situation is going to explode.

Too often when those times come we keep stirring the pot and anger stews and roils and boils into a violent eruption. We all know that violence does not have to be physical. Serious damage is done by verbal and emotional violence as well. It is what Proverbs call ‘harsh words’ that bring the argument to this point.  That, clearly, is not the best solution.

But this little proverb has an answer – ‘a soft answer turns away wrath’. Though this is principle instead of a promise, it is nonetheless a principle that would solve the vast majority of these situations. The word translated ‘soft’ here means a tender word. It is something that a lot of people, especially men, don’t want to be seen as today. Softness and tenderness is often perceived as weakness and no one wants to be seen as weak.

Wouldn’t it be great to known as the one who diffuses situations instead of the one who stirs them up? Jesus told us ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’ Being a peacemaker requires a level head, and peaceful spirit, and the ability to say that soft word.
Lord, help me be that man of soft words.

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