by Kim McDougal
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” – Proverbs 15:1,2 KJV
Some things just don’t need to be said. For instance, when my hubby would forget to turn out the lights in the bathroom after he was finished, I would find the lights on and grumble, “why didn’t he turn off the lights?!” All I need to do is turn out the lights. We forget things sometimes, and he doesn’t intentionally leave them on to get me upset! But, I had a bad habit of speaking out like that and I’ve since learned that my mouth is something I have to tame. If I go to hubby and tell him off about the bathroom lights, it won’t be long before we’re in an argument. And over what? It’s not that serious! Now, I know that’s a simple example. You may have had a situation where it’s much more intense and you’ve had to control what you say to keep the situation from getting out of hand.
The truth is we are emotional beings. And, we have to be careful to search ourselves when we’re about to say something. Our words have life folks. We can speak life into someone as much as we can speak death and we can speak life or death in our own lives. Our passage today says, “a soft answer turns away wrath…” All this means is “take time to consider your response BEFORE you speak.” Will your words harm or help that person? Will they be able to receive what you’re saying and try to make positive changes?, OR will they walk away in disgust? It’s so important that our mouths are used to edify (uplift, build up, encourage) others and glorify (praise, give the credit to) God. When I think of all the people in prisons, how many of them are there because their anger and words turned deadly? God understands that we are emotional, He just cautions us not to let the negative emotions overwhelm us.
And what about using our mouths to speak wisdom? The second half of our scripture talks about this. Wisdom comes from God. When we take our time to speak what God would have us say, we’re speaking and using His knowledge correctly. We’re not just saying whatever we want with no regard to how those words will be received. Think about it…how do you respond to words spoken? Do you want someone to speak down to you, in a scornful way? Or, do you like someone to speak to you with genuine love and concern? Even if I have to hear something hard to deal with, I’d rather it come through love and support. So, let us pray earnestly everyday that we take more time to consider our words BEFORE we speak.