“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:1-2 NKJV)
Rehoboam had a decision to make – a decision that had far-reaching consequences. Jeroboam, as a leader of disgruntled tribes of Israel challenged his authority while noting that Solomon had treated the people harshly. Older advisors, from Solomon’s era, counseled Rehoboam to treat the people kindly. Perhaps they had heard these words of Solomon. Neither the younger advisors nor Rehoboam paid attention to these words if they had heard them. Rehoboam told the tribes of the North that he’d be harsher than his father, and Israel split into two nations. A soft answer might have seen a different outcome. While God predicted this event, I can’t help but wonder if He did so knowing the character and arrogance of Rehoboam. Most of us won’t end up creating a civil war when we respond harshly, but we’ll evoke a lot of anger. We see a lot of that on social media, and while driving. As followers of Christ, we should take this observation seriously as we think about our call to make peace in this world. Let our words by seasoned with grace as we tell others how much God loves them. Some choose to focus on the sins of the people around them and they seem harsh and bitter. I choose to share the love of God with all people and let Him do the work of convicting them of sin.
As the work week begins, make plans to respond gently, even to the most unpleasant people that cross your path. Let your actions and attitudes reflect God’s love in all your dealings with other people.
Lord, teach me to give soft answers when my blood is boiling and I want to blast the person who just spoke. Teach me to control my anger and wrath so that I don’t pour out foolishness and instead, use the knowledge I’ve been given rightly.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.