Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 15:1
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1Very few of us, if any, agree with anyone else on everything. This is natural. Based on our background and history, we will see some things differently. However, no discussion on these differences should descend to intense arguing. Solomon states in this verse that a harsh word stirs up anger. Let’s say I am having a discussion with someone regarding the type of music to be used in the church. I am not critical of any kind of music, as long as it is doctrinally correct and gives true praise and worship to our loving God, however, there are music styles I do not particularly care for. And I am discussing with someone regarding this topic who only believes hymns should be sung, for all others are unorthodox and sinful. If, in trying to change their mind, I was to speak harsh words to this person regarding their belief, they would probably shut down, return even harsher words and eventually walk away. What have I accomplished? No doubt I lost the ability to speak into their life. Aldo, they have become much stauncher in their belief. Now, this topic is not an essential, but my approach has likely killed any chance in the near future of another discussion with them. Now let’s look at an essential. You meet someone who has been convinced that truth lies inside a cult which believes that Jesus is just one way to heaven, and they have chosen a works-based approach. You get into a discussion with them, and you ask something like, “How can you be that stupid?” In this example you have probably made them mad, but worse, they are probably more intrenched in their cult then they were prior to your comment. It will be much more difficult in the future for their beliefs to be changed. Note: The question above may not have been said in a harsh way, but no-one can deny the question itself was harsh. Harshness can be in the words, our tone or both. We need to watch what we say and how we say it. It is much better to speak gentle words in these situations. First of all, it will, in most cases, prevent the discussion from descending into an angry argument. Second, we can continue the discussion and hopefully change their mind. In the case of the song types, this is not as critical. However, in the case of the cult member, you may have an opportunity to change his/her view of the truth and actually become saved. Everything we do must be done in love. This includes discussions as well. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This is how we are to approach all things. When, in our discussions with others regarding differing views, approach the matter in the light of 1 Corinthians 13. I believe our impact will be much greater and we will bring many to God and strengthen the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In closing, let us remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians regarding this subject. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32. This is our calling in Christ. Let’s all work toward this being the modus operandi of everything we do. Not only will we be more effective, but we will also be pleasing God with our love and patience toward others. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.