Proverbs 15 has several verses about the way we use words. We are given encouragement to speak kindly and rebuke for harsh words. Let’s look at six verses in two groups from this chapter.
Words Can Create or Alleviate a Conflict
1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
We see the truth of these words in our daily lives. Sometimes we are amazed at how well some people can speak just the right word at the right time. And, we are shocked at how unkind people can be with the harshness of their words.
Have you ever seen an angry person instantly calm down because someone said a kind word with a gentle countenance? I certainly have. It is a beautiful thing to witness. It’s even better when you are the one who was able to diffuse a volatile situation.
Then, I am sure we have also all experienced the wrong words said in the wrong way. A seemingly calm situation can quickly escalate into a brawl by someone saying just a few words. Sometimes it doesn’t even take words, but body language or a certain look can create a storm of anger.
I remember one time, my brother and I were staying in a hotel as we were traveling. As soon as we got out of the car in the parking lot, a man came over and started yelling at us and throwing punches. Since the count was 2 to 1, we had no problem restraining the guy. When it was all said and done, the guy said that he was angry because of the way I looked at him. Honestly, I never even saw him. I probably had a goofy look on my face trying to see the room numbers to know which one was ours.
The funny part of the story, and the reason I love telling it, was while we had the guy restrained, a friend of his jumped in to help him out. I was holding the guy’s legs and my brother was holding his upper body. When the “helpful” friend came over, he grabbed my brother and yanked him away causing my brother to drop his half of the fight starter. When the “don’t like your look” guy’s head slammed into the ground that pretty much ended the fight as he was whining on the asphalt.
What’s Inside Comes Out When Squeezed
2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
These verses make me think of the New Testament words of Christ when He said that out “of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45) Whatever is inside of you will come out. And, especially when some type of pressure is applied in your life.
These verses tell us that the wise disperse knowledge and they take time in forming their answer. But fools overflow with foolishness and the wicked with wickedness.
The more you fill your mind and heart with God’s Word and His wisdom, the kinder and wiser your words will be when you are squeezed.