A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)
A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)
A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)
It doesn’t matter who you are or how old, when a temper is fired up, gentleness begins to defuse it. There is something about being given gentle kindness when fury flares that squelches the heat and brings the heart back to a more neutral space. It may not immediately bring the angry to sunshine and roses, but it does take away the reason to keep fanning the flames. As a middle school teacher, I have the opportunity to practice this daily. Most of the time, I am able to answer gently and whatever we are doing is able to continue. However, human nature can rear its ugly head at times, and the sarcasm screams to strike within me. Thankfully, our thoughts are not cartoon thought bubbles, and there is almost always time to self-edit prior to producing kindling or worse, gasoline, for the fire before us. We are all a work in progress, and it is a practice that must be utilized often to be on the forefront of how we respond rather than react. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to answer gently and respond tenderly when tempers are flaring before us.
O Lord, You are good,
And Your words are kind;
Despite how we come,
You have love in mind.
Your great tenderness,
Speaks straight to the heart;
If we choose listen,
The anger departs.
Show us Lord Jesus,
Again and again;
How to respond well,
Shine light from within.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You respond to us gently and tenderly, no matter how we come. Thank You for the people in our lives whom You have given to show us how to love and respond like You. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked gentleness and tenderness in our response to others. Teach us to rely on You to lead us in Your love. Show us how to meet each person where they are at and leave them in a better space than before our interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and rely on You to lead us in our every response to those around us. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5