What’s a Soft Answer?
I admire the person who can use humor, thoughtfulness, or a self-deprecating comment to defuse the tension of an angry moment. Maybe that’s why I’ve become so intrigued with the proverb that says, Ä soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” Proverbs 15:1. I’m convinced that there is more here than a reminder not to yell at one another.
The Neighborhood of this proverb
The Proverbs 14:35 reminds us that anger isn’t always wrong. Solomon provided needed balance when he said, “The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.” At the best, angry emotions show that we care enough to be upset when someone or something we value is in danger. This is like the anger of the king (14:35) who becomes emotional when one of his servants acts without regard for the needs of others. Wisdom, however, keeps this emotion on a short leash. Solomon’s “rule of the soft answer” helps us avoid the danger of unnecessary anger.
The Danger Behind The Anger
Anger is like a guard dog. It can help us protect ourselves, our property, or someone we care about. But without training, fencing, or a short leash, he could bite a friend as quickly as he will attack a thief.
The Motive Behind This Proverbs
So what restraint does wisdom give us? Is Proverbs 15:1 just encouraging us to lower our voices to avoid waking the sleeping dog? No, the wisdom described here isn’t just about volume. What makes a response gentle is our motive, not our volume. A soft answer is motivated by love. A voice raised in love is less threatening than a thought whispered in contempt. A loud yes I’m perfect. I’m sorry. Forgive me. But I happen to care about you!” is much more calming than a softly spoken. You’re nothing but a worthless version of your father or mother.” Proverbs 15:1 isn’t about loud responses. It’s warning us about harsh responses that, even when whispered, awaken anger because they’re spoken as a threat. “Soft” words, though, tend to defuse anger, regardless of their volume, because they’re an offer of safety.
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God's provisioning is a subject near and dear to my heart!~ a joy to have!~ Jehovah God & His Son Jesus be with y'all!~ Miss Marlene C. Peebles!...
Reviewed May 3, 2012
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