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A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath




"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 It is very difficult to remain quiet when someone speaks angry words to you. It's well nigh impossible because angry words sting. They hurt. And they only prompt more anger. So much damage can be done with an uncontrolled tongue. "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire BY HELL." James 3:6 So what does one do when someone speaks to him in anger? Well, there are two possibilities. The more likely is that he will respond in more anger and light the fires of hell with argument. But what has he gained? When you're in a position like this, keep in mind that responding with angry words will avail you absolutely nothing. You will only stir up your opponent to more anger, and yourself to more anger, and the only thing that can possibly come from this is bitterness and hatred. The Word of God tells us to do the very opposite. The Word of God tells us to respond with a soft answer, because a soft answer will quench the wrath. I saw this in action one day. I saw a man with raised voice speak angry words to his wife, and I saw her respond softly, not at all raising her voice, speaking slowly with all gentleness. And I witnessed the man calm down and listen to her. The whole atmosphere changed. This was such a beautiful a thing that I have never forgotten it. "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness." Proverbs 15:2 When a person pours forth angry words, those words are foolish. Have you ever seen angry words accomplish what the speaker desires? Of course not, because they only stir up further emotion and nothing good can come from it - but terrible damage can be done by it. "See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity." James 3:5-6 A soft answer quenches wrath. It can change the whole situation. When someone speaks words of anger to you, lower your voice and speak a soft answer and see how it changes everything. It is extremely difficult to do because we are emotional people. But if we keep in mind the total futility of wrath against wrath, and respond instead according to the Word of God, the whole atmosphere will change and you've gained your opponent instead of making him an enemy. Friends, when you know you're going to be in a hostile setting, pray. Ask God for grace to diffuse the setting by granting you the strength to surrender your emotion to the Word of God. For most people, this can only come by the grace of God, and that's why I say pray. ASK for that grace. It could change everything.