Gentle Answers Are Golden

Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?

That’s an important question to be asking yourself when you’re in a disagreement.  It’s tempting to pop off your mouth and be sarcastic  It gives a rush of power to get that last word in and walk away.  Most approach a disagreement determined to simply win the argument.

But do those approaches resolve things?  Or do they make things worse?

God gives us excellent advice on how to approach a disagreement.  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).”  The Christian’s goal during a disagreement is to help the friend be closer to Jesus in the end.  Instead of being passionate to win the argument, the Christian is passionate to speak truthfully and gently.  The goal is to speak words that benefit the listener.  Even if they don’t listen immediately, maybe they will over time.

Notice that this doesn’t mean you ignore the truth in order to smooth something over.  But it does mean that when you speak the truth, you stay away from battle-mode.  Think about Jesus during his life.  He was always part of the solution, and never part of the problem.  In everything he said, Jesus only wanted an eternal, peaceful resolution for the listener.  Remember what he said at the start of his crucifixion?  As vicious enemies taunted him, he prayed, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”   Jesus’ aim was to turn away their wrath, and not stir up their anger even more.  Maybe in the long run, some of these souls would be won over for the kingdom of heaven.

The next time you’re in a disagreement, remember: it’s not all about you.  Be bold to ask yourself, “How can I help this person the most?”  Don’t be part of the problem with more harsh words.  Be part of the solution, and speak the truth in love.

Prayer:  Gracious Holy Spirit, my tongue is a powerful tool.  It can either powerfully build people up or powerfully tear them down.  Help me to use my tongue for your glory.  Give me patience, especially during a disagreement.  Divorce me from my desire to simply win the argument.  Fill me with self-control, so that I am part of the solution and not part of the problem.   It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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