Gentle Answer or Harsh Word

The students had been assigned to work together in a group for two weeks. Everyday I heard the same thing. “I can’t work with those people. We’ll get into a fight.” and they would refuse to work in their group. One day I arrived at school and decided I would challenge the students to consider how they talk to each other.

I put the following on the board “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I then went on to explain what it meant. That not only the words that you use but the tone you use and how you use those words can cause hurt or pain or can encourage and help the people around you.

I challenged them to think about those things while they worked in their groups. That day was an amazing day as they all worked in their groups. They were productive and I even heard laughter as they worked all class period.

Proverbs 15:1 is powerful because it is God’s Word. When we use His word to challenge others and ourselves we will grow.

As I ponder about this verse and what it means, I find myself thinking of several different situations where over the years where I did not always handle things so well. My words probably caused more chaos, hurt and trouble then good. Relationships were broken and have been hard to renew. But I am so thankful that God has forgiven me and has given me new opportunities to choose my words more wisely. Times when I have given that gentle answer that allowed peace to come into the situation and bring healing to a relationship.

Whether we are in a group setting at work, church or even as a family we need to remember how we speak to one another. Everyone wants to be heard and wants to contribute without being stepped on. So as we go into conversations and situations with other people whether it is one person or a whole group we would be wise to remember that what we say and how we say it will impact those around us. It can cause them to respond with peace, order and growth in the relationships leading to productivity. Or, it can cause discord, chaos and a break down in the relationships leading to turmoil and destruction.


Father, help us to remember that our words can help or hurt. Help us to give a gentle answer and not use harsh words. May we remember Your Words and ask You to continually guard our mouths. Thank you for hearing our prayers and helping us to speak to others with Your Words to build up and not tear down. In Jesus’ Name we pray Amen.

For further study on your tongue, words, mouth check out the following scriptures: Psalm 19:14; Psalm 39:1; Proverbs 13:3; James 3:1-12; Matthew 12:36

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