Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 15:18
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.” – Proverbs 15:18
Have you ever been in a discussion with someone on a topic where the two of you did not agree? I have at times. Everything starts out ok, but then something happens and suddenly one or both of you begin showing signs of animosity. It can start out slow, but if things do not change, then the possibility of an intense argument becomes more probable. This was likely not the direction either of you anticipated. You were simply wanting to discuss a topic, and suddenly everything blew up.
This is especially true if both are looking for a win and will do anything possible to be successful. Especially if both parties have the same goal. At this point, the possibility of an amiable conversation becomes less likely. And the more entrenched both parties are, the possibility becomes stronger each will leave angry at the other. However, the second part of this verse describes how we are to handle any discussion, no matter how much we differ regarding the topic. We are to be slow to anger, not trying necessarily to win the debate, but to be calm and present our case. Anger does little in presenting what we believe, in fact, it will probably harden them to their own view of the topic. Meekness is a better attitude in these situations. You can bring up your opinion or belief, but not in an argumentative way. Present all arguments on both sides, and if there is no agreement, leave as is. There may be reasons why each sees things the way they do. It is not worth arguing because all it will do is close minds. Then, even if they come to believe you, they may never admit it or act on it.
This is especially important when we, as Christians, are one of the parties in a conversation. Doubly so when not everyone involved is a Christian. The issue in either case is our witness. It would not be good for others to see us being angry and offensive during a discussion if they know we are a Christian. What if we, in the process of trying to prove our point, call the other person a derogatory name? Not only will this undoubtedly close the mind of the person, it can also cause others hearing our conversation to question our faith, to the point where they may even see us as a fake Christian. They will see us as someone not living the life we profess. Paul says it this way. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29. He also adds, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Ephesians 4:30-31. Note, we are not to exhibit bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, malice, and slander. This pretty much does away with all negative expressions we could present. In fact, we are to do all to God’s glory. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17
We are to show love to all we come into contact with, whether we agree or not. To argue does not help our cause, in fact, it degrades our ability to be a consistent witness. We are to go out and be Christ’s hands and feet on the earth. We are to show the love of God to a world that needs to hear it even though they may not think they do. We are to be a light in the darkness. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. It is our calling; it is our mission.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.