Bible Passage: Proverbs 15
A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger
I like the first verse a lot. Oftentimes, anger is stirred up within a person whenever the other party first starts to get angry and say mean words or speak in a harsh tone. How do shouting matches or fights start amongst people? If we watch the videos of angry Singaporeans caught on video on Stomp, one party gets angry and say nasty things which in turn aggravates the other party.
When I was still studying, I did not have a fantastic relationship with my mother. Whenever I slacked (for just a minute!) and did not hit the books, she would scold or nag harshly, which in turn triggered a deep annoyance within me. Many times a heated exchange including nasty words would follow.
But this is also a reminder for myself, to be patient and not to be sucked into this cyclone of anger. As Christians we ought to glorify God with our behaviour and emulate Jesus’ meek and gentle nature. I used to believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If people say me, I must say them back. I must never back down and suffer a loss to my dignity.
But what does God want us to do in such cases?
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
As Christians of the True Church, we have to be the masters of our tempers in circumstances when we are wronged. Even if we are right, “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is just stooping to the other party’s level. How then can we set ourselves apart from people of the world? Many people of the world are full of pride and want to seek revenge when they feel bruises to their egos. Do we want to be like them? Why cant we be like Jesus instead? If we are wronged, we must be patient and have faith that surely God will avenge us.
Also, this verse is also another reminder for us, that when I converse with others, I should not reply with a harsh tone and cause tempers to fly. As Christians, we should not be a stumbling block to others and cause others to sin. We should constantly evaluate our speech and behaviour. Will we cause others to feel irritated and angry with our words and impatience? Are our actions edifying to others?
Elder James teaches us to be slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen. This was a memory verse taught to the lower primary class a few weeks ago. As adults, lets train ourselves to first think about this verse whenever we are going to feel angry. Only then will we be set apart from this world.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.