August 18


Watch What You Say


Proverbs 15-17


            KEY VERSE: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

n      Proverbs 15:1

In recent months there have been stories of prominent people who lost newly acquired jobs because it was discovered that they had sprinkled their resumes with lies. What a pity these dear people had not read and heeded Solomon’s advice against lying!

I have a friend whose son has developed the bad habit of lying. He said to me, “It has gotten so bad that I cannot believe a word the boy says.” The young man’s deceitful tongue has inflicted much grief upon his parents.

In the New Testament James warns us that “no man can tame the tongue,” and that the tongue can cause great heartache. All of us know how right James is. We have all known the intense pain caused by saying things we later wished we had not said.

My parents taught me many things, but I wish they had spent about six months teaching me the wisdom of Proverbs 15:1 – that a soft or gentle answer prevents wrath, but harsh, ugly words create a firestorm of anger. They probably tried but I was not listening.

I grieve when I think about how many times in my home I failed my wife and my children by speaking harsh words which ignited their anger. The result can only be described as painful brokenness in our relationships. Thankfully we learned to trust the Lord to lead us through forgiveness, renewal, and healing. But so many hours and days of hurt could have been avoided by a gentle answer on my part. Thankfully I have learned that while I cannot control my tongue, the Holy Spirit can – when I surrender it to Him!