Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
We have had a number of bonfires over the past fourteen years my family has lived in this house. As the fire begins to die down, I will head inside and monitor it from time to time from our kitchen window. I know when I cannot see anymore embers glowing, it’s time to make a trip back outside. As I approach the fire, I will only see the slight glow of a smoldering piece or two of wood. The fire appears to have died down. Yet when I take the shovel, turn over the embers, and wait a moment or two; a flame inevitably grows once again and begins to consume what remains of the wood. Turning over embers stirs up a consuming fire. Harsh words are much like the turning over of embers.
What happens if I were to take a three foot glass bowl and place it atop the fire? The fire would slowly die down because it now lacks the supply of oxygen. A soft answer is much like placing a bowl over a fire.
I have many examples of this happening in my life. Two months ago I showed up on a job site to start a customer’s cooling tower. It was scheduled the week earlier. When I arrived the maintenance person was very mad. His boiler had shut down, a person doing demo work had cut into a water line, and I was there asking questions regarding the job I was there to do. He was slamming doors, cursing, and so frustrated. As I followed him around at warp speed, I kept saying to myself “a soft answer turns away wrath, a soft answer turns away wrath”.
As time passed, and my soft calculated words covered the fire; the man began to soften. He never apologized to me mind you. But he did begin to speak kindly and explain his frustration. And even expressed a hint of thankfulness for me being there.
The softest words I can think of that turned away the greatest amount of wrath was when Jesus at Calvary said “it is finished”, and then bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1