I can honestly say that I stumble in the area of giving a gentle answer. It is true though, that giving a gentle answer will turn away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. When we have a “discussion” or argument, whatever it is, when we let another person speak without us getting so uptight and angry, it keeps the intensity of the discussion down. If we get to raging and irritable, the conversation ends up “stirring up anger” on both sides. What one person says when angry, the other person says something back even more intense. It goes on and on, but if we just don’t let the conversation get to that point where we start getting angry, things will calm down. We will see more of these verses on the soothing tongue, a gentle answer and many verses about honoring correction. Let’s look at Proverbs 15 now.
The Soothing Tongue
I think of these verses regarding the tongue, that it heals! It is wise and makes knowledge look beautiful. The tongue is also a “tree of life” too! It is living, it is NOT killing or hurtful. The second half of this verse says that “a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Have you had your spirit crushed before? It really hurts! According to verse 26, “gracious words are pure in His sight.” He loves it when we are loving and gracious to other people when we speak. Even if they deserve to be told something in a harsh way and we want to be harsh with them, saying something more graciously, is honorable. It honors God. He considers this “pure.”
Verse 2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Verse 4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Verse 26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but gracious words are pure in his sight.
A Gentle Answer
I wrote in the first paragraph, regarding a gentle answer turning away wrath, in verse 1. Another great verse along these lines is verse 28 that says, “the heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.” It is a great thing to consider ahead of time, what we will say when we answer someone. If we don’t think ahead, we may just “gush out evil.” In other words, just let nasty things come out of our mouth when we are angry. I need to stick this on a post-a-note in my house where I am reminded often to think ahead about what I say!
Verse 1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Verse 28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil
These verses on correction speak well for themselves. Maybe when we were younger, we hated to be corrected, but hopefully by now, we are respectful and appreciative of correction that we receive. According to verses 10 and 12, the people listed are those who hate correction, specifically mockers in verse 12. “Mockers resent correction so they avoid the wise.” So who do they avoid? They avoid spending time with anyone who gives advice and wisdom. They don’t want this, so it is not who they choose to spend their time with. Is there anyone in your life now or in the past that you avoided? Is there anyone who avoids you? What are the consequences then?
I love verse 22 also. The plans that I have or make, will fail if I am not willing to receive counsel. I will NOT succeed! “But with many advisers they succeed.” Are you willing to get advice or counsel from many good sources, especially godly sources? All of these verses are excellent, but the one that I think ties in best with the whole chapter is Verse 33. The instruction that wisdom gives is to fear(respect) the Lord, and “humility comes before honor.” We won’t gain any honor, respect and reward if we are prideful. The opposite of pride is humility. So we need to respect ALL of the wisdom that the Lord has given us. This includes respecting those who give us wisdom and correction. It includes those who want to see us live godly, righteous lives. They usually want this for us because they know the consequences we will face if we do not follow after God.
A healing tongue and a gentle answer fall right in line with respecting and desiring wisdom in our life. We need to speak healing words. Being harsh does nothing for the relationship but cause more anger.
What Scripture Says In Proverbs 15
Verse 5 A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
Verse 10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;
the one who hates correction will die.
Verse 12 Mockers resent correction,
so they avoid the wise.
Verse 20 A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
Verse 22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
31 Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.
32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.Proverbs 15:31-33