40 Days of WORDS

Dr Jim Brown's TruNorth Devotional
40 Days of Words
Day 38 | WHEN SOFTNESS IS NEEDED | Proverbs 15:1

Proverbs 15:1
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

People today are upset and angry, and I suspect we can think of a batch of reasons why they are.

We are living in a time when everyone wants to stick up for their own “rights” and opinions. But because so many are angry, they are on a “hair trigger” to let their anger out where it can become harsh and like a raging forest fire.

I can remember a couple of HUGE fires we had near where we’re living in north San Diego county.  The fires were out of control and not responding – at least for a while – to all the attempts to suppress or redirect them by fire crews.

An angry outburst is similar. Once it starts – once the horse is “out of the barn” – it is nearly impossible to quench.  Like the wildfires, “wrath” will continue to damage indiscriminately and can destroy much before settling down.

So here, wise Solomon is telling how to diffuse such a situation… with a “soft answer.”

One commentator said: “Many conflicts arise not because the issues separating the parties are so great, but because of the temperaments people bring to a confrontation.”

Another said that: “Soft speech is like oil on bruised skin to soften and heal it; painful speech has the effect of oil poured on a fire.”

It takes self-control (which the Holy Spirit CAN help us with) to not fly off the handle when provoked… but rather, to use “a soft answer” in the face of harshness.

Prayer: LORD, I need help controlling my tongue, especially when I think I’m right or the other person is wrong.  I know there is a place for discussion and debate, but I also know that I often pick the wrong time.  Help me to control my tongue as Solomon writes here and to lean on YOU to help me.  Amen.