“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

Though some might not view this verse as a “promise”, I promise you that if you learn when to give the “soft answer,” you will save your­self from hard troubles. That’s because I’m still learning – the hard way – that a loose tongue leads to a tight place in our relationship with others be they mate, family, neighbors, employees, employer, etc.

Wrath is a fire, but a gentle answer is like rain. Sounds good, huh? But it’s not easy to answer softly, is it? Especially when the other person is spitting out mean, spiteful, accusatory and angry words—and you believe you are in the right. Or, even if you’re in the wrong and deserving of blame, it’s hard not to match verbal insults one toward another.

But that isn’t the way of the Cross. God’s love will not allow us to win the point but lose the person. The devil and the flesh will afford us many opportunities to give angry retorts rather than soft answers. That’s why someone wisely said, “Talk is cheap because the supply is greater than the demand.”

But the Holy Spirit will teach us the avenues and the answers of love. Like the man who moved to a new home and discovered that his neighbor had a mean, ugly dog who barked viciously every time the man passed by. This man was as wise with dogs as he was with peo­ple. He did not yell or take a stick or even complain to the dog’s owner. Instead, each time he passed by he talked softly to the dog and gave it a tasty treat. Not many days later, the canine turned from snarling lips to wagging tail, as the two became great friends.

So rather than bite, fight or spite, learn to practice the soft answer and you may turn an enemy into a friend.

My prayer: “Lord Jesus, teach me the most difficult lesson in life—how to control my tongue in situations that are beyond my control.”

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