Gentleness turns away wrath
Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Have you ever tried to win an argument by being harsh or brutal? In most cases, love overcomes hate. It’s true with our words and how we speak to others. In this proverb, the Bible asks us to be kind and gentle in our conversations and discussions.
In the New Testament, we see Jesus talk about kindness in multiple ways. Jesus says in Matthew 5:39, “But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” You don’t fight fire with fire; you put the fire out with water. Jesus wants us to be kind to one another and not give in to hatred.
It affects our speech as well. A soft answer can only be connected with a tender, caring heart. We are not to put each other down, but encourage each other and lift one another up. This demonstrates humility. By showing loving kindness toward the other person, we are being considerate and putting ourselves below them in a servant-like attitude that Jesus always preaches.
A mild and submissive answer prevents further progress of a heated argument. Problems aren’t solved from bickering back and forth. We don’t want to throw gasoline on the fire and make a situation worse than it already is. When spreading the good news of the gospel to others, we want our speech to come from a place of love and not judgment. We don’t want to condone, but we don’t want to condemn either.
Our words should be delivered with kindness and humility. Don’t try to put yourself above someone by proving to them that you’re right and they’re wrong. God can do that for Himself. Our job is to show love and point others to Jesus, so He can make a difference and speak life.
This week, pray about how you can be gentle in speech and sharing the gospel message. Show love and kindness to those around you with words of encouragement.