Proverbs 14 & 15
Of my 37 years in public education, 25 of them were spent working with middle school children. There is something about that age group I just love. I had a principal who used to say you could tell the difference between a sixth and an eighth grader by the way they go through the halls. Sixth graders want to run everywhere. By the time they get to be eighth graders not only does their pace slow in the hall, it can be a challenge to keep them awake during a fifty minute class.
I loved being a part of the transition from child to the early teens. Their thinking changes. Their goals change. And attitude? Nuf said.
But as much as I enjoyed middle school kids I can honestly say I never won an argument with one. Proverbs 15:1 reminded me of that this morning. If a child was angry and I spoke to him or her in my anger, neither one of us was heard. And neither one of us was able to get to the bottom of the problem
But over the years I learned that if I stayed calm, we had a better chance of working things out. If I allowed myself to be sucked in to their anger, if I stooped to their level of frustration, it wasn’t pretty.
Have you found that to be true in your own relationships? Have you ever said something in anger you later regretted? Anger is not a sin. But how we express it can be.
What does Proverbs 15:1 say? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If you have a screaming match with your child do you think that will calm things down? Do you think they hear you better if you talk louder? If you are sarcastic or demeaning to your child, do you think that’s going to make them want to be better, to please you? Think again.
A gentle answer must be the key or it wouldn’t be written here in Proverbs. My prayer is that we will all learn to be angry and not sin, to keep our mouths closed while we are angry, knowing a harsh word stirs up anger.
Father, I pray for all of us that we will choose to control our tongues no matter how angry we get. Whether we are at the work place, in our home, or sitting on the stands watching our children play baseball. Bring to mind Proverbs 15:1 and help us to remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath. May we be wise, dear Lord, even in our anger.