A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer is not easy to come by in stressful situations. Financial pressures tend to push buttons that arouse my flesh, and in my own strength I say things I later regret. It is hard not to be harsh when the weight of the world weighs us down or when we feel misunderstood or under appreciated. Indeed, this is when the gentleness of Jesus can replace our juvenile gestures. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Harshness seems to hibernate in a heavy heart, awakening when it feels violated or disturbed. However, by God’s grace, a soft reply allows reason to run its course rather than passionate words that provoke insult. Emotion is kept in check by calm communication that promotes peace and understanding. Consider reaching out patiently.
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25).
If you find yourself in a heated argument, take a deep breath and pray together. It is hard to remain angry when you are on your knees confessing sin and sorrow to your Savior Jesus. Take the lead to apologize and ask forgiveness. Humility disarms explosive conversations and brings back the calm of Christ. Remind each other of Jesus’ words, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Lastly, a gentle word from God lowers your blood pressure and gives you a peaceful perspective. Listen to the Lord before you lash out, and His Spirit will restrain you from stupid stunts. The work of the Holy Spirit in your heart moves you from harshness to holiness. Pray, “Lord, forgive me and fill me.” It is the fullness of the Spirit that frees you from the foul flesh. As a Spirit-filled believer, you smell sweet to your Savior Jesus and all who love Him.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).
Prayer: Lord, my heart desires a daily surrender and refreshing of Your life-giving Spirit.
Related Readings: 1 Kings 9:11–13; Proverbs 25:15; Matthew 12:36–37; Colossians 3:12
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© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.