May 10, 2024


Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.


Proverbs 15:1 teaches us the power of gentleness in our speech and interactions with others. The verse contrasts a 'soft answer' with a 'harsh word', showing that the way we communicate has a direct impact on the emotions and reactions of those around us. When we respond to others, especially in tense or heated situations, with a gentle and controlled manner, it has the power to defuse anger and hostility. However, when we allow harshness to creep into our tone and words, it only serves to stir up and intensify negative emotions like anger. This proverb highlights the wisdom of being slow to anger and choosing our words carefully. It takes self-control and maturity to give a soft answer when we feel provoked or attacked, but the Bible commends this as the better path. Gentleness is not weakness, but strength under control. It means having the ability to remain calm and collected even when faced with aggression or negativity from others. As the other proverbs elaborate, the words of the wise are marked by knowledge, life-giving power, and the ability to calm contention. In contrast, foolish speech is characterized by folly, perversity, and the stirring up of strife. If we want our words to build up, encourage, and point others to God's truth, we must learn to speak with wisdom and gentleness. Ultimately, gentleness in speech flows from a heart that is surrendered to God and filled with His Spirit. As we abide in Christ and allow His character to be formed in us, the fruit of gentleness will be evident in how we communicate with others. May we be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, reflecting the gentleness of Christ in all our interactions.


The proverb's emphasis on the power of gentleness is a much-needed reminder for us today. In a world that often celebrates quick wit, snarky comebacks, and asserting ourselves, gentleness can seem counterintuitive or even weak. However, God's wisdom turns human logic on its head - it is gentleness, not harshness, that has the power to change hearts and minds. When we encounter difficult people or situations that make us feel defensive or angry, our natural response is often to lash out with harsh words. We want to put the other person in their place, to win the argument at all costs. But Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that this approach is foolish and counterproductive. Harsh words only breed more anger, hurt, and division. Instead, we are called to imitate Jesus, who was the perfect embodiment of gentleness. Though He was God in the flesh, Jesus consistently responded to sinners and enemies with compassion, kindness, and a gentle spirit. Even when facing mockery, betrayal, and crucifixion, Jesus did not retaliate with angry words but entrusted Himself to the Father. Of course, being gentle does not mean being a pushover or never speaking truth. Jesus was gentle, but He also spoke bold words of correction when necessary. The key is that His hard words were always tempered by love and gentleness. He spoke the truth, but in a way that disarmed the listener and made them more open to receiving it. As followers of Christ, we are called to the same high standard. Gentleness should characterize our speech in every interaction - with our spouse, children, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. When we feel triggered by a hurtful comment or action, may we learn to pause, pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our response. May we choose gentle answers that minister grace to the hearer, build bridges instead of walls, and point people to the love of Christ. This is not an easy task, and certainly not one we can accomplish in our own strength. It requires daily dependence on God, regular time in His Word, and a willingness to crucify our flesh. But as we walk in step with the Spirit, He will cultivate the fruit of gentleness in our lives. May we be carriers of God's gentleness in a harsh world, and may our gentle words be used to soften hearts and lead people to the truth of the gospel.


Heavenly Father, Thank You for the wisdom of Your Word, which teaches us the power of a gentle answer. I confess that too often my words are harsh, impatient, and unkind. Forgive me for the times I have stirred up anger and hurt others with my speech. Lord, I desire for my words to be full of grace and gentleness. I know this is not possible in my own strength, so I ask for the help of Your Holy Spirit. Fill me afresh with Your presence, and cultivate the fruit of gentleness in my life. Give me self-control to pause before speaking, and wisdom to choose words that build up rather than tear down. May I reflect Your gentleness in every interaction - with my family, friends, and even those who are hard to love. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. May my gentle answers turn away wrath and point others to the love and truth of Christ. Thank You that even when I fail, Your gentleness and mercy toward me never fails. May I rest in Your unfailing love today. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Gentle words, a soothing balm - Calming storms with a whispered psalm.

Gentle words, a soothing balm -
Calming storms with a whispered psalm.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.