Sunday, March 27, 2011

A soft answer is the way to go

A sweet friend spoke this verse to me, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1, at a time in my life when the Lord knew these words would stick with me forever. This beautiful friend was not only calming me, but preparing for what I would be what I needing most.

When we are in the heat of the moment words fly. Words that you cannot take back. Words can either edify and bring glory or they can curse and bring shame. I believe I have been on both ends of these words we use to share our emotions. Emotions are so very hard to control, aren't they? We can get angry and we can spout off at the mouth, only regretting those words later.

When we speak softly and make a conscious effort to be calm it provides a door for the other person to remain calm. Ever notice the more angry we become the more angry the other feels also? Then both people are shouting and no one is hearing anything, but anger. Nothing good can come shouting. We want the other person to understand us so badly that we forget all about the one on the receiving end. All we want is to be right and to be heard. Sometimes are not right. If we could only listen to the other we might find that out and humble ourselves into understanding no one is perfect. The same grace we so desire is the same grace that is offered to all.

"The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression." Proverbs 19:11

A month ago I ordered two new phones. They just happen to be two phones that didn't work properly and phones we did not like at all. I had been speaking to the company who provided these phones for about forty-two days. That is a long time to try to remain calm. I was speaking to them from week one upon receiving these phones. Once a week, if not twice a week I was speaking to people who continued to tell me I am wrong and they cannot help me. Now, I am not one who always has to be right. I am learning to be humble, but friends, when you know you are right, it is hard to just stop and let something go.

"An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression. A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor." Proverbs 29:22-23

I  spoke with some really great people and some that were down right mean. As anger was stirring in my heart it was this verse that kept coming to mind. It was this verse the Lord kept placing in front of me, reminding me that even though I am unhappy, I am representing Him in all ways. It didn't matter what the other was saying. I needed to remain calm and speak with love. A soft answer.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25

I can tell you as long as I focused on Christ I remained calm. There was one day where the person on the other end of the phone had me so very angry I lost my temper. I ended up apologizing for the words I spoke. She may not have cared, but I did. I knew my words were not edifying to Christ. Why do we allow our anger to take hold of us? It seems to happen so quickly and then we are sitting there in the midst of those ugly words feeling badly for saying them. This woman didn't know me. I would never see her. But that didn't matter. My Savior has called me to higher standards. Values that go hand in hand with a godly character. There are times we must take a stand, but when we do so we can do so with integrity. We can choose our words wisely or we can speak foolishly without thought as I have many times. I can tell you speaking softly never fails.

"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles." Proverbs 21:23

I did not give up. I kept calling and calling until I did get connected with the right person who was willing to listen and willing to do all they could to help me. That got me thinking. As all of these representatives sat before me they could only do so much. They were limited in power. They were limited in knowledge. I too am limited without God. Without His Word my knowledge is lacking. Without His wisdom and love all my knowledge is powerless. They had to go to one higher. One above them. I too must go to One higher. One who understands all and One who is without limit. One who will always listen to me. One who has gone the distance.

After being on the phone for hours yesterday we are receiving new phones this week. This month has tested my patience. When we treat others with kindness and show respect it sometimes shocks them. Sadly, it is not something that happens often. In speaking with a woman yesterday she said, "I can't believe you are not yelling at me. Everyone yells and calls me names when they are unhappy." How terrible to throw a fit and show such unkindness just because we are angry. I felt bad for this woman. She appreciated my kindness. It wasn't me throwing a fit and yelling that got me new phones. It was continuously calling in and sharing my story. Telling the truth. Kindness always prevails.

"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37

In our walk we will either lead people to Christ or turn them away. People know a fake. They know if we are really what we say we are. These people represented a company, while I represent someone far greater. Jesus Christ. Our words can impact the world. In great ways we can bring others into the presence of Christ or in great ways we can turn them away forever. It is all in how we speak and what we say.

It would have been very easy for me to just let go and let words fly in anger. I could have sat not caring about the other person on the end of the line. Only caring about my wants. We can get so caught up in justifiying ourselves that we lose all self control. Our reputation will be made known. It was the words of a friend. The comfort of a Savior who brought me to be humble and to speak with kindness. Did I mess up? You betcha. Lost my temper indeed. I knew I did as soon as the words were out. I let go of my pride and said I was sorry. Sometimes just that one humble doing sets forth a course for others to see something different. Something better. It is always best if we can try to place ourselves in the other's shoes.

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls." Proverbs 25:28  Self control is the key to being obiedient to Christ and walking in His way.

So, I must ask myself daily, "What are my words saying? How am I impacting the world for Christ?" It doesn't matter if we are on the phone, at a stop sign, or face to face with another. I need to overcome my anger and allow Christ to shine before me and through me. It is not about me, it is all about Him. We are given opportunity daily to speak with others. May our words show others who Christ is and show that we can overcome anger and emotions by focusing on the One who came and delivered us from all. We can overcome all anger just by keeping our eyes on Him.
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