Turning Wrath Softly
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
It was a perfect day for golf so my dad and sister had set out to enjoy the day together on the course. The round was going great and my dad was hitting the ball well. There was a foursome in front of them and they were a little slower than molasses on a cold winters day.
As my dad and sister were waiting (again) for this foursome to move along my sister assured my dad that there was enough distance between them and the tee box for him to drive. Bill teed off and crushed his ball straight down the middle of the fairway. He suddenly realized, “That is going to hit them...” He gave them a heads up with the traditional “FORE” and, fortunately, it bounced in-between their carts.
As my dad watched in horror he saw the one guy get in his cart and come back towards them. As he approached my dad and sister, dad realized this man had his club in hand and it would appear he had plans to use it to hit something other than a golf ball! As the cussing tornado approached my dad, threatening his life, my dad calmly said;
“You are so right. I should have waited another thirty seconds. I am so sorry. Can you forgive me?”
In an instant the situation was defused (except for my now irate sister who wanted to put this old man in a world of hurt for threatening dad). The fellow immediately pulled in his horns and after one more comment reminding my dad to use his head next time he walked away.
The bible doesn't just give good advice, it gives us God-honouring ways to live in response to the grace we have been shown. The wisdom shared in Proverbs 15:1 is not just a way we can keep from being beaten with golf clubs. It actually gives us an opportunity to show others humility and help in restoring peace to hostile situations.
The greatest example of this is Jesus. The same way Jesus humbled himself and did not revile those who reviled him, he did not defend himself but quietly went to the cross to restore peace between us and God the Father. Jesus’ soft answer of “Your will be done” turns God’s wrath from us.
In Christ we never experience the eternal wrath of God because Jesus gave the answer that turned it away from us and onto himself.
When you are faced with difficult conversations, do you desire peace or to be right? Do you defend yourself or humble yourself? Do you reflect the character of Jesus or the pride of man?