How Will We Respond?

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

Arguments seem inevitable, and after being married for well over a decade, my spouse and I would have had a few of those. Looking back, I realize that most would not have occurred if we had chosen to follow the guidance from Proverbs 15:1, today’s Bible text.

Recently, after a long day of work, I waited patiently for my husband to return home. It was very late, and this was unusual given the existing ten o’clock curfew.

After calling his cell phone multiple times and receiving no answer, I began to worry. After a while longer, worry turned into annoyance.

Why couldn’t he just call to say he was running late? I thought.

After what seemed like an eternity, his car came up the driveway, and he walked happily into our home. His greeting, “Hi babes,” was not very welcome.

I was relieved to see him alive and well but still felt that a phone call would have allayed my fears. Oblivious to my anxiety, he continued to chat happily.

I smiled to myself and realized that I could not be upset even if I wanted to be. I asked politely, “Where were you?” and softly added, “I was worried.” He looked at me, gave the warmest and widest of smiles, and said, “Oh, hon, I just got distracted. I was with the boys doing some car things. You know how it gets. We were trying to beat the curfew.” His explanation was comforting. I knew him and was aware of how absent-minded he could be.

He had meant no harm. Later, I thought back on the conversation and imagined how badly it could have gone if I had angrily accused him of being inconsiderate of my feelings based on his failure to call home. Today’s text came to mind, and I contemplated the wisdom given in God’s holy Word. Too many times, we are quick to give a seemingly justified response, but is it always one that promotes peace and healthy relationships? It takes two to argue, and God has called us to promote peace in every relationship.

The next time you are tempted to say something that may be offensive, remember: responses matter! A soft answer is always the best way to go.

Shana Cyr-Philbert

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