A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
If a gentle answer turns away wrath, why do we choose to say harsh words? We hear harsh words everywhere we go. People seem to be so angry these days. The southern California freeways are notoriously known for drivers having “road rage.” I do not even want to know what kinds of words are being spoken in the cars of others while driving.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Our mouths are speaking right from our hearts. The difficulty with having a “gentle answer” is that the character trait of self-control has to be developed first. If we look at the fruits of the Spirit, the last one is self-control. It starts with love and ends with self-control. We all have the ability to speak gentle and kind words to each other when we want to be kind and loving. However, we do not want to be gentle and kind when we have been criticized or mistreated. These situations require self-control so we can watch our words and answer with gentleness and kindness.
I pray for self-control daily. Not only do I not want to regret my words, but also I really want my heart to reflect the Lord. I see the Lord’s reflection in me when I hear the words that come from my heart. Listen to yourself today. What kind of words do you use? What kind of tone or attitude do you have? Are your words edifying and encouraging or destructive and negative? Then, when you get angry, evaluate your words again. God wants us to have peace: He left it and He gave it. Anger is not a sin but stirring anger up is. Pray for the Lord to take hold of your heart to help you to hold your words. Pray for self-control of your tongue.