I have seen people get so angry. They are ready to explode. You can see the look in their face. They are mad. They are ready to fume from their ears. Then something changes. They are face to face with someone who doesn’t yell back. The person doesn’t respond harshly. Instead there is a gentle answer. The person who is angry starts to consider this gentle answer. Wow, I don’t have to be so mad. This person is calm. This person isn’t out to get me. This person is being reasonable. This person is caring. This person is listening to me.
When someone is angry, words can be said. When the listener starts to respond with more harsh words it becomes a war. The two people end up tossing words back and forth. Who can hit the hardest blow? Who can hurt the person worse? Who can one up the person with the worst? It becomes very childish. It becomes very loud. Voices get even louder, as if the loudest voice would win. As if the loudest voice is delivering the truth.
God’s Word says we should provide a “gentle answer.” It says a lot about us to provide a “gentle answer” when we are being pelted with hurtful, harsh words. I have tried both the gentle answer and the harsh words. The gentle answers always have worked out best. I’ve given up on the harsh words.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” – Proverbs 15:1 [NLT]
We all have moments when we are not at our best—moments we would like to erase from our memory. The other day I had one of those moments. I could make excuses and say I was run down, tired, in pain and all of them are true; however, there was a way around the mess that arose. Sadly we so often make that mental note after the fact.
The problems that arose involved three big factors—two that I already mentioned. Firstly, I was in pain. Secondly, I was tired. Pain and exhaustion cause us to react differently than we usually act. You are more sensitive, less patient, more irritable. Thirdly, I had things bottled up. A few weeks prior, things had occurred that I did not get to yet discuss so they were still sitting there in the pot. Oh what a pot that boiled over that evening.
Yes, we all have the moments. Thankfully I have a lot less of them. Today, remember to address things right away. Don’t bottle things up so they can boil over later. Be sure to get the rest your body needs. If you are in pain or distress, address that as well. Don’t leave any room for the devil to stir up a boiling pot so it boils over.
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” – Psalm 127:2 [NLT]
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 [NLT]