Monday, September 3, 2012

Proverbs 15:1 - Calm Response or Verbal Assault?


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

Consider this scenario...

You’ve picked up your four-year-old daughter from day care and you’re driving home.  Someone in a Ford F150 blows by you, cuts into the lane in front of you, and slams on the brakes.  You miss rear ending him by a hair’s breath.

Cursing, you swerve recklessly into the passing lane, hammer the accelerator, then slow down so you can drive alongside him, making rude hand gestures and yelling insults about his mother through the closed window.

He shakes his head and speeds away.  The last thing you see is the silhouette of his middle finger in the back windshield of his truck.

Remembering your four-year-old, you bite down hard on your flapping tongue, and arrive home; steam emanating from both ears.

The story continues...

Your four-year-old is playing in her room.  You’ve got supper in the oven, laundry in the washing machine, and you think you’ve got just enough time to vacuum the living room before you need to put the veggies on to boil.

Your husband comes home from his twelve hour work day.  He’s distracted and worried that he’s next on the chopping block for layoffs.  He changes into his yard clothes, planning to cut the grass, and hands you his work shirt to add to the washing machine. 

You look at him in disbelief and say in a snarky tone, “Go put it in yourself!”  He responds in an equivalent tone. 

The evening disintegrates into an ugly argument with your four-year-old crying in her room.

Does this sound like any of your evenings?

Our schedules are busier than ever...

When you’re already stressed it’s hard to be patient with people around you.  We’ve all got our personal schedules and plans.  When something interferes it’s hard not to lash out in frustration.

While King Solomon didn’t lead the perfect godly life (he had character flaws just like the rest of us) he certainly left us with some wise thoughts and advice in the book of proverbs.

Calm words rather than verbal assault...

Your first reaction in a frustrating situation is probably to launch a verbal assault, but the memory verse for this week reminds us of the importance of staying calm and rational in the face of stress.

Venting your anger only puts the other person on the defensive, evoking a return assault of equal or greater frustration.  But a calm response encourages rational discussion rather than an irrational argument.

Can you think of incidents in your life where a calm word could have averted a hostile confrontation?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

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

No comments: