A soft answer turns back wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. —Proverbs 15:1
The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. –James 1:20
How often we excuse our angry words, blaming others for our own actions. How often we confuse anger with strength and gentleness with weakness! There is a softness that is cowardice, and perhaps that’s the source of our confusion. Cowardice and unbridled anger are two different responses to the same root: fear. True gentleness, on the other hand, is a powerful choice.
Although there is an authentic, righteous anger which may give us the courage to defend the weak and oppressed, we must not confuse our angry words with strength. The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.
The strength of Christ is shown in his union with his Father, saying only what is for the good of his hearers; he is not afraid of making them angry, but he’s not strutting about with the bravado of the tough guy, either. He simply speaks what is the reality of every occasion and welcomes us to listen to the truth: “Whoever has ears ought to hear” (Matthew 11:15).
Our anger often indicates fear of losing control of a situation.The ability to answer gently under such circumstances indicates great strength and self-mastery. This strength comes from Christ, and it can grow as we learn to choose trust over fear.
This post is part of a series (see A Lenten Invitation from a Babbling Brook: Focus on Speech and Silence). To receive new installments, you’re invited to Follow SparrowFare via Email by placing your email address in the FOLLOW box in the right sidebar (mobile users will find it below). Please share the posts that speak to you. In this contentious time, let’s spread the word about the importance of our words.