Prov. 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Busy w/ the cares of life… Rushing to and fro… Deadlines to meet… Schedules to keep… Traffic… Loved ones placing demands on your time… Supervisors that don’t understand… Jobless… Homeless… Hungry… Irritation… Frustration… Not enough time to do what needs to be done… No one is listening to you…
People just don’t seem to care…
All of us face situations and challenges every single moment of every day. Some we handle well and others, well… Tempers flare, harsh words slip past our lips – words that cannot be taken back. Suddenly things are out of hand; relationships are irreparably damaged – and all because of something we said.
What do we do? What CAN we do to prevent this in the future???
Choose your words wisely…
What are soft or gentle words? What do they do? They are meant to soothe; diffuse situations; calm tense nerves. They allow us time to think and see things in a different light. They promote reconciliation and healing.
On the other hand, grievous or harsh words hurt. They stir up anger; cause strife; escalate matters negatively. They can cause irreparable damage and even lead to death. We can hurt, destroy, or even kill a person physically, mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually simply with the words we say. Prov. 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Using soft or gentle words does not mean that you are weak. Just because you don’t let your emotions get the best of you where you find it necessary to prove your point, have the last word, or “prove your superiority,” but instead choose to stop and think about the possible ramifications of your words does not mean that you don’t have a backbone or that you don’t know what you’re talking about or that you’re wrong.
On the contrary, it shows an exercise of strength and self-control by the speaker, a taking of time to choose one’s words wisely…
Our words come from our hearts. The Bible tells us in Proverbs that as we think in our hearts so we are. We are admonished to guard our hearts because it is the wellspring – or source of supply – of life.
“Bad” or evil people are not the only ones who speak harsh or grievous words. “Good” people, including Christians, do so as well. No one is exempt because no one is perfect. However, imperfection is not an excuse for not checking your heart and guarding your tongue.
Jesus spoke these eternal words of caution in Matthew 12: Out of the overflow (abundance) of the heart the mouth speaks… But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment of every careless (or idle) word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
Those things you simply need to get off your chest… that piece of your mind you need to give to a certain someone… those people you need to get told so they’ll back up off you… the repairman who is late, causing you to spend all day at home waiting… the person who cut you off in traffic… the person sitting in your seat in church…
What is the condition of your heart? Are you angry? Hurt? Seeking revenge? Walking in unforgiveness? Or are you frustrated? Having a bad day? Tired of being put down? Stepped on? Not taken seriously and ignored?
Do you not feel well? Want to be left alone? Are you so beset and depressed by the issues of life that you simply feel like giving up? Do you feel as though you have lost control of things?
Do you simply feel the need to lash out and flex your muscles? Is the person you’re talking to truly the source of your frustration or simply the unfortunate victim of your wrath?
Are you battling with God? Are you angry with Him?
Whatever the case may be, stop and check your heart. Examine your motives and reasons for why you feel the need to let loose, to express yourself any way you so choose… regardless of the consequences.
Think about your words. Will they help or hurt the situation? Heal or destroy the relationship? Will they reflect the true loving condition of your heart, or your lack of thought and self-control?
Speaking soft words is as much an exercise in self-control as it is checking your words and motives. Remember – it’s not only what you say but also how you say it.
The choice is yours, so choose your words wisely.