Here at Dwell With Christ, we take family worship and devotional time seriously. We believe that God has given parents as the first disciple-makers in our children's lives. Here's a devotional you can read with your children, grandchildren, or children's class at church (for those children who aren't being discipled at home). The plan is to have more of these in the future in order to support not only your devotional life but the devotional lives of the children in your life.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Has someone ever said something that made you angry? Maybe your sister made fun of the way you said something. Or it could have been your little brother who screamed at you. Sometimes your parents lose their temper and yell at you, too. Even your best friends say things that are hurtful, don’t they?
We do it to others, even though we may not notice it. Instead of asking nicely for a toy, we say, “Give me that toy now!”. Rather than doing what our parents say, we yell back, “No! I don’t want to!” Sometimes we say really mean things to people who are trying to be nice to us. It hurts their feelings just like it hurts ours.
Did you know that giving a harsh answer is sinful? It really is! God doesn’t just care about what we say. He cares a lot about how we say it, too. Sometimes our mean words lead other people to anger. Sometimes our harsh words make things worse for us. They always reveal the anger in our hearts. God doesn’t take that lightly and neither should we.
We all say things we regret. Only Jesus knew how to speak perfectly to other people. Sometimes He had to say hard things to sinful people, but even in those moments, He spoke the truth in love. Did you know that Jesus describes Himself as gentle? Read Matthew 11:29. This doesn’t mean that Jesus was weak. In fact, He showed His strength through patient, loving, and gracious words—even hard ones.
You can learn to give a soft answer. You can learn to get rid of harsh words and speak with gentleness. The important thing is not just to say things the right way. Anyone can do that. You have to say the right things from the right heart. Only the gospel can bring this kind of change. Jesus took the harsh words of His enemies and didn’t respond in the same way (1 Peter 2:23). Instead, He gave His life on the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them” instead (Luke 23:34).
When we trust in Jesus and believe the gospel, the Holy Spirit makes us more and more like Jesus. He reminds us to use kind words. He helps us fight the angry thoughts in our hearts. He even bears fruit in our hearts that we can use the next time we get tempted to use harsh, angry words. The Spirit takes God’s words and makes them real in our hearts.
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