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FROM THE PULPIT: A soft answer brings comfort, turns away wrath

Ruby is the mother of six and grandmother of 13. She is the embodiment of gentleness, patience, and love.

One Christmas, all the children and grandchildren were gathered as usual at Ruby’s home. Just the month before, Ruby had bought beautiful new white carpeting after living with the “same old carpet” for over 25 years. She was overjoyed with the new look it gave her home.

Ruby’s son, Arnie, had just distributed his gifts for all the nieces and nephews – prized homemade honey from his beehives. They were excited. But as fate would have it, 8-year-old Sheena spilled her tub of honey on Grandma’s new carpeting and trailed it throughout the entire downstairs of the house.

Crying, Sheena ran into the kitchen and into Grandma Ruby’s arms. “Grandma, I’ve spilled my honey all over your brand-new carpet.”

If this had happened to you, what would your reaction have been? Would you have been furious and caused a scene? Would you have berated Sheena for ruining the brand new carpet? Many people would.

But Grandma Ruby knelt down, looked tenderly into Sheena’s tearful eyes, and said, “Don’t worry sweetheart, we can get you more honey.”

What was Ruby’s first concern? To comfort Sheena. Ruby didn’t rant and rave about the carpet and the floor. In wisdom, she knew her granddaughter knew her terrible mistake. It was an accident. Sheena was very sorry for what happened. So why make a fuss over a carpet when so much more was at stake?

Ruby saw the emotional long-term effect her first response would have. And she wisely took the road of not making a fuss over the carpet, but rather assured her granddaughter that she was still loved way more than a piece of fabric.

Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

A soft answer in the midst of chaos or unsettling times goes a long way toward bringing peace and comfort. Giving a soft answer shows a great deal of wisdom and a maturity in faith.

We are to ask God for his wisdom. The letter of James (1:6–7) says we are to ask for God’s wisdom in this way, “Ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” You are to ask, knowing and believing God will give it to you.

Be sure to allow your responses to challenging or difficult situations to be guided by God’s wisdom, uttered with soft words.

Mark Broadhead

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: FROM THE PULPIT: A soft answer brings comfort, turns away wrath