Wednesday, October 21, 2015
After someone has criticized or corrected you, how often do you find yourself thinking you should have answered or responded differently than you did? And how often do find yourself planning to give certain people in your life a “piece of your mind” the next time you see them or let them know how you feel and what you really think about them? I was thinking about this matter recently when I saw the readers’ opinions to a recent national news item. After reading many of the cruel and nasty responses, I kept asking myself “Why do I keep visiting these opinion forums since they mostly put a damper in my day? Will I ever learn?” Please pray for me concerning that issue. One thing I have learned in these forums, though, is that one nasty remark gives birth to another and the trend continues. It is no different in life and I’m sure you all know what arguments and disagreements can lead to.
Sometimes even a seemingly cordial discussion at the onset can turn into a heated argument and lead to a full scale war. Knowing the dangers involved in this matter, Solomon wrote: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 KJV) Regarding this verse, the great Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote: [“If wrath be risen like a threatening cloud, pregnant with storms and thunder, a soft answer will disperse it and turn it away.”] In just two biblical examples, this truth is confirmed. In the 8th Chapter of Judges, the Ephraimites angrily confronted Gideon for not inviting them to join him in his battle against the Midianites. When Gideon softly and wisely answered their question, their anger immediately subsided and no harm was done. On the other hand, in 1 Kings 12, we read the story of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, and his response to a certain faction of the Israelites who wanted him to treat them more fairly than his father. His nasty response to them angered them so much, it only lead to his country being weakened and divided. I hope you can read these accounts for yourself when you get a chance.
I know we are all human and sooner or later we may say something foolish. Nevertheless, it will behoove us to make “soft answers” a part of our everyday lives. Be on the lookout; you may get a chance today to see what a soft answer can do for you. With the support and help of God’s grace, we can all do the same, and when we do, not only will our relationships improve, things will go better for us. In the end, God will be pleased and we will help advance His Kingdom. And after all, isn’t that what we all want?
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 14:8) “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”