A Calm Spirit and a Gentle Tongue

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A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. —Proverbs 15:1, NIV

A recent story on the news told of a Texas couple who were hiking with their baby in the Colorado mountains. They rounded a bend in the trail and came within a few feet of a mountain lion. As they stood there, a bit stunned, a second mountain lion appeared.

The baby started to cry, but the couple remained very calm.

In fact, the father stressed several times that they stayed calm.

Thanks to a cell phone, 911 coverage, and a helicopter, they were ultimately rescued. I thought of the text in Daniel 6:22, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions” (NIV). Thanks to a calm demeanor and an angel, they lived to tell the tale.

This story reminds me of an experience a pastor and his wife had years ago, also while hiking in the Colorado mountains. They unexpectedly came face-to-face with a bear.

After a few moments of startled silence, the pastor’s wife began talking very softly and sweetly to the bear. He seemed to enjoy hearing how soft his fur was and what pretty eyes he had until he finally grew bored and ambled off into the woods, thanks to soft, pleasant words and no doubt an angel’s protecting care. The Bible tells the story of David and Nabal.

David became very upset with Nabal because he refused to give much-needed provisions to David and his men. In his anger, David planned to punish Nabal.

That’s when Abigail, Nabal’s wife, intervened.

She not only brought ample provisions but also, because of her grace and kindness, prevented an attack that surely would have ended badly for her husband.

Ellen White says, “Would that there were many more like this woman of Israel, who would soothe the irritated feelings, prevent rash impulses, and quell great evils by words of calm and well-directed wisdom.” The apostle Peter says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. . . . Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3, 4, NIV).

It seems as if a calm spirit and a gentle tongue can tame mountain lions, bears, and people, too!

Sharon Oster

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