Soft Words, Slow to Anger

I read somewhere recently that certain minds are like the soup in a bad restaurant – better left unstirred. (Sounds like a Doug Wilson comment but I can’t be bothered to find it.) I am sure that’s true. Some of us have all kinds of unpleasantness there which shouldn’t be brought to the surface.

But how easy it is to stir up someone else’s mind! I was struck by these verses from my reading this morning. 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 ESV)

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (Proverbs 15:18 ESV)

The scenario that comes to my mind is that (frequent) soap opera moment when the cutting line is delivered, leaving the recipient silenced and the deliverer vindicated. How common in the Christian life! Under the guise of truth and righteousness, the killer line is delivered.

The trouble is that sin lurks in the deep all over that relationship. Killer lines, harsh words, unsanctified hot-temperedness – all have one effect: to stir up anger and strife. It may be that someone else has a mind that shouldn’t be stirred up, but neither should I be a stirrer.  

How much we need the grace of God and Jesus Christ who is our sanctification. Soft words, slowness to anger. Only in him do we have the resources to heed this wisdom from Proverbs. 

Soft Words, Slow to Anger