1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. 3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:1-4
If you are yelling, you are probably not listening. And the other person isn’t able to listen either. If you are party to such I must commend to you wisdom that roots out the anxiety, folly, and perverseness.
The mouth of the wise contrasted with the mouth of a fool:
Soft answers – Harsh words
Knowledge – Folly
Gentle tongue brings life – Perverseness breaks the spirit
In the middle of the short discourse on speech and conflict the teacher commends awareness of God: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
It reminds me of Paul’s pursuit of the Lord’s peace for a conflict among two leaders in the church of Philippi:
5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So next time in the midst of conflict remember: Jesus is here; anxiety ramps up irrationality disturbing the heart and mind; seek God and speak softly.