Proverbs is a book I often teach from, and today Proverbs 15:1 comes to mind, and it should be an easy one to memorize, for it will come in handy many times in your life.  It says, A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. 

           There is no shortage of angry words in this world today, maybe there are even some in your own home.  Here is a true story from my own life over 30 years ago.  I was driving one night on a side road intersecting a major highway and it looked like the road continued on across the highway, so after stopping, I pulled across, but found the road did NOT continue, but I’d have to turn left or right.  So here I was stopped crosswise across a two lane highway with my front wheels nearly in the ditch, and here comes a car. I was trying to back the car up to correct, but was having trouble getting it in reverse. The oncoming car jammed on their brakes just as I got it backed out and turned left.  I noticed that vehicle followed me over 20 miles to a restaurant in town where I decided to stop.  I got out of my car, and two guys got out of a pickup and one had a baseball bat.  The driver yelled at me, “You could have gotten us killed!”  And he was right.  But it wasn’t on purpose.  I apologized and told them I thought the road went straight across and it didn’t.  He said OK, and that de-escalated what could have been a fight, and left.

Some years later, reading Proverbs 15:1, the LORD brought that night to my remembrance, and I’ve never forgotten it.  We could have argued, but thankfully didn’t.  But how many times have we lit the fuse with angry words and the situation turned ugly?  There have been times I’ve said things that I later regretted, and most likely you have, too.  If only the LORD would prompt each of us with His Word each time we need it.  Perhaps He does, but in the heat of the moment maybe we aren’t always listening.

It is said, “If we must eat our words, we should make sure they’re sweet.”  Well, that isn’t verbatim in the Bible, but the intent is surely there in Proverbs 15:1, wouldn’t you say?  Whatever our words are, they need to line up with God’s Words, and it will help us to live more peaceable lives.  Now of course I understand there is a time for rebuke or correction, but it can be done without anger in most cases.  Sometimes strife is unavoidable, but how we handle it determines the outcome.

Our political climate right now is at its worst level ever that I can remember. And with all the evil and corruption going on, we can’t just sit by and let it continue.  But speaking in hatred and anger isn’t going to do anything but stir up more anger, until bad things happen.  And of course, that’s exactly what the devil wants us to do, that is, stir the pot.  That’s how riots and war get started, by someone stirring up a bunch of people in anger.

I’m not saying that being a pacifist is always the answer, because that’s how bullies get their way.  But I’m saying, the Bible tells us we can “be angry and sin not”, and sometimes the righteous of God have to get angry enough to put evil in its place, and sometimes by force if necessary.  But first, listen to the Holy Spirit.  Let God lead us in HIS ways, and not our angry mouth.

I don’t need to go on and on for three or four pages about this.  We each know our particular personality, and if correction is needed in this area, just do it.  All you married people know for a fact that if you act ugly and say stupid stuff, you get stupid prizes, like sleeping in the other room, or maybe even worse.  Entire families have been destroyed by angry words, and there is sometimes no going back.  Words create, words heal, words hurt, and words can destroy.  How we use our words shapes our life every single day.  You husbands know, if your wife works hard to fix a nice meal for you, and you tell her she overcooked the steak, and complain how tough it was, it isn’t likely she will go to all that trouble again anytime soon.

Yes, maybe she DID overcook it, but did you compliment her intention and for all her hard work?  And you wives, when your husband has had a terrible day at work and comes home out of sorts, you can make it all better by a few soft words.  And the evening will be most pleasant.  Our words can make our life pleasant, or they can make them difficult.  You’d think the choice would be easy and clear, but often we put our mouth in motion before we put our mind in gear, and then it’s too late.  We cannot call our words back to being unsaid, any more than we can fire a bullet from a gun and call it back again.  So make sure your words are sweet.

The day you save may be your own.  Amen?