Quick to speak and slow to listen?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

-Proverbs 15:1

If you have grown up or are growing up in a Christian home, your parents (like mine) have probably told you to speak gently when conflict escalates, because a harsh word stirs up anger.

This is taken directly from God’s Word, and if you’ve ever been in spots where you had the choice to choose a gentle answer vs. a harsh one, you know that this is a principle that works…not only do people tend to “zone out” and get defensive when you respond to them harshly, but it reflects poorly on Christ. In several of my posts, I have referenced Philippians 4:5 and 1 Peter 3:4 about how gentleness needs to define our character as believers and followers of Christ. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Just today, I had the opportunity to help one of my friends with this…you see, when you enter into a discussion with someone that starts to turn into a conflict, the last thing you want to do (for the argument and your reputation) is to answer harshly. When you answer harsh words with a gentle answer, it parries and disarms the person you’re talking to…it takes the emotion out of the discussion.

So, how do we put this in to practice? One of my dad’s favorite verses is James 1:19, which says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.It’s a whole lot easier to jump into something and say something you’ll regret later when you act brashly…that’s why throughout the Bible, we see warnings about our tongue and self control. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Be in control of your tongue…answer harsh words with gentle ones…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Why?

“…for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” -James 1:20


In Christ,