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  • Rev. Marsha Brown

Devotional: Week of 4/21


Weekly Devotional Scripture:

Today's Scripture: Proverbs 15:1–7,18 (NIV)

Difficult People

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings ruin. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. - Proverbs 15:1–7,18 (NIV)

Lucy Worsley is a British historian and TV presenter. Like most people in the public eye, she sometimes receives nasty mail—in her case, over a mild speech impediment that makes her r’s sound like w’s. One person wrote this: “Lucy, I’ll be blunt: Please try harder to correct your lazy speech or remove r’s from your scripts—I couldn’t sit through your TV series because it made me so annoyed. Regards, Darren.”

For some people, an insensitive comment like this might trigger an equally rude reply. But here’s how Lucy responded: “Oh Darren, I think you’ve used the anonymity of the internet to say something you probably wouldn’t say to my face. Please reconsider your unkind words! Lucy.”

Lucy’s measured response worked. Darren apologized and vowed not to send anyone such an email again.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,” Proverbs says, “but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1). While the hot-tempered person stirs things up, the patient person calms them down (v. 18). When we get a critical comment from a colleague, a snide remark from a family member, or a nasty reply from a stranger, we have a choice: to speak angry words that fuel the flames or gentle words that douse them.

May God help us to speak words that turn away wrath—and perhaps even help difficult people to change.

PRAY WITH US

There are days where we encounter people who seem to be truly difficult to deal with. Whether it is at home, at work, at school, help us to decipher and understand them. Grant us Your Godly wisdom that we may uplift Your name, even before them. Let us not judge and condemn but display the love of Christ to them. May we have the strength and courage to forgive those who may have wronged us, even as we have been forgiven.

Give us peace and patience to deal with these seemly difficult persons with ease, with respect, and with a smile, Oh Heavenly Father. We pray that those people also find Your peace. Give them that unspeakable joy in their lives.

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