Do you remember certain phrases your mom or grandma repeated to you throughout your life? “Treat others as you’d want to be treated.” “Little is much when God is in it.” “Do your best. That’s all I expect of you.”
There are certain sayings and Scripture references which take me back to my childhood days and this is one of them: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
My mom wanted to instill in me the wisdom of speaking to others with kindness, humility, and gentleness. I wish I could say that her lesson kept me from ever running off at the mouth, but at least the verse is planted deeply within my heart. As I continue to age and grow spiritually, I hope to speak this way naturally without having to stop and think about it. Generally I’m kind, but sometimes situations and people… stir me up. ~smile~
Who Stirs You Up?
Okay, so sometimes Eric stirs me up. Let me tell you, no one will get to you like the people who live with you. Annoying co-workers, needy friends, arrogant college professors – these are all people to whom you can bid farewell (at least for the evening); but, those special people who reside in your home are always there. They see you when you are feeling fine and when you’re out of sorts. Sometimes they will agitate you because of their own sinfulness; and other times, they will agitate you because of your sinfulness.
We’re fallen creatures tasked with living with other fallen creatures – an environment I’m sure God uses to sanctify us. And maybe even I’m not convinced He doesn’t laugh at us sometimes too. ~smile~
I TOLD YOU TO CALM DOWN!!!
Think about this: When is the last time someone yelled at you and it calmed you down? Anxiety is my natural reaction to yelling, raised voices, or even annoyed tones of voice. If someone’s slightly annoyed with me, I feel slightly anxious. If someone is screaming and walking towards me with raised hands (something that never happens in our home for which I’m so thankful), I’m going to feel exceedingly anxious.
However, when someone responds to one of my questions, statements, or snide remarks in a calm, pleasant tone of voice, I am immediately calmed.
And, sometimes, it shakes my pride. ~smile~
Has this ever happened to you? You are angrily expressing yourself to your sweetheart or friend, really getting in some good jabs – and then he or she has the nerve to calmly say, “You’re right. I’m sorry.” Immediately, all ammunition is gone and you feel a little foolish. (Yeah, I can relate. ~smile~)
Marriage 101 – Speaking Softly
The concept of speaking to each other softly is so simple to imagine and yet so hard to perfect. Though some personalities are naturally more gentle than others, most of us can think of a time when we addressed someone we love in a sharp tone. It’s so easy to do. It’s a part of our selfish natures.
The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom which is still applicable to us thousands of years later – and Proverbs 15:1 is among my favorite of its verses. Another terrific passage to apply to your relationship and future marriage is Proverbs 17:27-28:
“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
Sometimes it’s better to keep the lips closed. Think of all the fights that would never start if people chose to wait until they were calm to speak. Think of all the relationships that would remain intact if people did not demand to be heard.
When we’re angry, we may want to confront the one who angered us; but, it is rarely a good idea to approach someone when we’re seething. Last but not least, Proverbs 10:19:
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
When we talk too much, we end up sinning. Can you think of examples of this in your life and relationships?
Can I Buy a Vowel?
Personally, I think it would be a great idea for newlywed couples to post vinyl lettering which reads: “A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath” on their bedroom walls. We would all experience more peace in our lives if we spoke softly, and less often. ~smile~
As we embark on our year of experiences, let’s try to also experience peace and kindness in our relationships beginning with our tongues. We can’t control how other people speak to us, but we can control how we respond.
How we react to our sweeties can be the difference between a momentary relational hiccup and a full scale war of words.
When has a soft answer from a friend or loved one calmed your heart?