FAITH: Watching the texture and tenor of our tone
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. (Proverbs 15:1-2 NKJV)
Have we ever heard the phase “it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it” as a reason or excuse as to why someone reacted the way they did? If we really want someone to listen to us, our delivery is paramount.
Here, the wisdom writer encourages us that saying it loud doesn’t make it right. That yelling and screaming adds nothing to the conversation but more strife.
In fact, he’s letting us know that a soft response will repel in most cases a hostile agenda.
Now understand, soft here does not imply weak. Soft truly speaks to wisdom and maturity.
It takes the combination and collaboration of wisdom and maturity to deliver a soft answer that is smooth in texture, quiet and gentle. That is not harsh or angry but is conciliatory or soothing especially in a conversation of disagreement.
When we begin to go word for word with people, our voices tend to rise. Their voice goes up an octave, ours goes up an octave and before we know it, we’re shouting at one another and no one is listening, thus anger gets escalated, emotions begin to run rampant and words are being said that people really mean at that moment but will come to regret later.
“I didn’t mean what I said, I was just angry.”
The truth is they/we did mean what they/we said. Because in the heat of the moment, our survival skills kicked in and what we said was all about our survival even if it meant saying something to hurt the other person.
This is why Solomon instructs us that “the tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”
It is a great attribute to have a large vocabulary. It also comes with a great responsibility.
Words can cut and leave longer lasting scares than any object will ever do. All of us have the capacity to get angry and say things.
The next time we arrive at that location, let’s remember, survival is not about being hard or getting even. It’s being soft enough to allow the wisdom and maturity of our knowledge to guide our words that we’re not only safe now, but we’re secure and not sorry later.
Rev. Demetrius Moffett is Senior Pastor of Orange Church of God-Embassy of Grace, 1911 North 16th Street in Orange.