Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Our Verse of the Day reminds us it is good to check our attitudes whenever we become provoked or angry. There is nothing lost when we exercise kindness in our relationships, and often we can gain understanding if we will pause and listen to the other person … regardless of the tone of their expression. While I realize it might be difficult to be silent when someone is yelling at you and out of control, your patience and gentleness (even silence) can help subdue emotions of anger, hatred, or bitterness. Immediate reactions are not always helpful in a stressful situation. We might feel attacked and want to be defensive, but if we choose to engage another with harsh or caustic replies, we typically invite anger to move into the realm of rage. And I’m fairly certain there will be no positive outcome under those conditions…. Remember, the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Cf. Proverbs 18:21)
The Apostle James gives us some additional insight and wisdom on this issue as well:
James 1:26 (NIV)
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James 3:3-12 (NIV)
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
My friends, we are called to control our tongues … to exercise restraint when it comes to our words. For what are words except the expression of the thoughts of our hearts. When emotions run high, it is best to guard our hearts and our words. Once words come out of our mouths, it is like toothpaste. You will not be able to put it back into the tube! Consider what Jesus taught when He admonished the Pharisees for their hypocrisy: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Cf. Matthew 12:34a – 37) These are powerful words for us to contemplate if we want to give serious thought to the consequences of our words….
King Solomon provided considerable wisdom on this issue throughout Proverbs 15. So, I will end with a few excerpts for your introspection. I am sure there will be other passages that will come to mind as you study the Word of God on your own, but these are provided to stimulate and motivate us to think before we speak. We live in a temperamental culture, filled with all kinds of division, strife, and interpersonal conflict. In Christ Jesus, we are called to love. We are called to peace. Indeed, I believe the fruit of the Spirit is most often manifested through our words. So let us live and keep in step with the Spirit in this regard.
Thoughts for the Day:
Gentle words are a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. ~ Proverbs 15:4
The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright. ~ Proverbs 15:7
The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. ~ Proverbs 15:14
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. ~ Proverbs 15:18
Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! ~ Proverbs 15:23
The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in His sight. ~ Proverbs 15:26
The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words. ~ Proverbs 15:28
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. ~ Psalm 37:29-31