November 09, 2009

Mud Slinging Contests

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

“Just wait until I tell all your friends exactly what kind of a person you are!” That’s what someone yelled at me in the heat of an argument, red-faced and growling. After nearly 30 years, those words are still seared in my mind. So is my response.

Enraged at the “disagreement” of the moment, I cruelly retorted, “Well, if you want to throw mud, you better keep in mind the things I know and I’ll throw back twice as hard and win!”

The details of the situation are not important nor was I proud of my part in that war with words. There was no winner in our verbal assault, only two losers. Ever been there?

Although I do not possess a close personal relationship with that friend any longer, time has worked its magic and we would not flee to the hills if trapped in the same room together. The incident occurred a long time ago, in a land far, far away. Since then Jesus came into my life.

Perhaps you are wondering why the memories of my past indiscretion resurfaced. It was a sign! Okay, not a sign from heaven but my HOA. Indeed, God works in mysterious ways.

It’s not secret that anger has hit an all-time high in this country. It’s been escalading for years. We’ve been subjected to road rage, school shootings, political differences and religious differences. People have enormously busy schedules with no patience. Interruptions only create eruptions.

Maybe addressing the subject again seems like overkill. But I’ve always thought that what was important to God, should be important to us. The Bible is filled with instructions regarding our mouth just like Proverbs 15:1.

We are instructed to bless not curse, be slow to anger and slow to speak, let no unwholesome words proceed from our mouths – need I go on? If you read Proverbs 15:2, you find the theme continued with, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spout folly.”

I’d be remiss not to acknowledge that from time to time verbal differences do occur. Walking away and practicing “turning the other cheek” is hard but sound wisdom. Unfortunately, once in a while a response is required. When those situations arise, be forewarned: nothing good comes from verbal confrontations where the Spirit isn’t invited as a holy mediator and love of Christ is not present!

In confrontations, forget all the falsehoods that come to mind in the midst of anger. Stick to the truth! Remember all truth CAN BE spoken in love. And when you can’t figure out how to do that, it’s probably best to stop and “thunk” on it until the way becomes clear.

It’s a lesson I needed to be reminded of and go ahead admit, you need it too!

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about the sign that God used to get my attention. So I will close and leave you with precisely that posted message:

“When you throw dirt, you only lose ground!”



1 comment:

  1. We struggled last week with a broken transmission. It went out while we were driving on the freeway. As our our car got slower and slower, people around us grew angry. One woman sped around us honking and using obscene hand jestures. In the hopes of making her feel guility, I wanted to follow her and tell her our car was broken. Thankfully, my poor car couldn't keep up. It took me several minutes to realize how unhappy she must be and to pray for her. Sigh...Anger begats anger.