Speak Softly

Pr 15:1
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.      KJV

The Bible has much to say about our speech–the way we talk, the words we use, and how we use them.

This verse has much to say about the responses we engender with our words. If we would be conscious with our speaking, we could notice how people respond to us and gain insight into our own hearts. However, many of God’s people have bought into the New Age philosophy that says, “It’s their problem.”

“If they get angry, it’s their problem I didn’t do anything.” Isn’t that a cute way to once again avoid responsibility for our actions? Seems to work well for the ‘no-fault’ society in which we live.

This verse points out something different, though. It claims that if our words are grievous, then anger gets stirred up.

If your experience is that many get angry when you talk, then maybe you should look to yourself, and not to them. Maybe it is your ‘grievous’ words.

Grievous means: OT:6089
an earthen vessel; usually (painful) toil; also a pang (whether of body or mind)
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The first thing to notice is that the base meaning of the word is ‘earthen vessel.’ When we speak from ourselves and not from the spirit, then we are likely to stir up something unpleasant in the listener.

‘Soft answer’ is both tone and content. We can turn away wrath in ourselves and others with a soft answer. Learning to speak softly in this way will require practice over a long period of time for most of us. But, if you would like to see a shift in the way people respond to you, then it will be well worth the effort to put these concepts into practice.