Today's Devotional

The Gentle Answer (12 June)

A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.
When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but stupid people spout nonsense.
The Lord sees what happens everywhere; he is watching us, whether we do good or evil.
Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.
Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.
Proverbs 15:1-4, 18

The other day after a particularly stressful day working with special needs children "from the other side," I was on my way home and was side- swiped by a truck. This happened so suddenly and was so unexpected that I could not understand exactly what had happened until I heard the crunch of metal upon metal and pulled over to the side of the road to assess the damage.

It was not as bad as it might have been and I was grateful. However, I then saw the angry face of the truck driver approaching me and yelling something in a language I did not understand! Responding with a lack of true Christian grace and the fruit of the Spirit, I yelled right back that I did not understand him, and explained (loudly) in a language he did not understand that he had hit me!

Quickly realizing that we were going to get nowhere no matter how loudly we yelled, I prepared to drive off and told him, in his language, to do the same.

Thinking this over, I realized how this is a metaphor for so much of our lives. We scream at each other, convinced we are "right" in a "language" the other does not understand. So sure of our position, passionate in our decisiveness, we have neither the ability nor the desire to hear the heart of the other person. Instead of stepping into the shoes of our adversary and seeking peaceful solutions to problems, we drive away, convinced of our truth. Thus, we build walls, barriers to communication, and we isolate ourselves from each other all the more.

There must be a better way. Perhaps grace and humility rather than anger and defensiveness will help to bridge the gap.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:6) (NIV)

- 12 JUNE -

© 2012 United Bible Societies - Palestinian Bible Society, Bible Society in Israel, and Arab Israeli Bible Society. All rights reserved.