A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
This verse highlight the importance of speech namely, its ability to lead others to knowledge (Proverbs 15:2, 7) and to bring healing in relationships (Proverb 15:1, 4). Conversely, speech can be destructive when used recklessly or harshly (Proverbs 15:1).
Speech is a concern taken up in other parts of Proverbs besides this passage and is an important theme within the book. For example, the book highlights the dangers that come with endless chatter and an unbridled tongue (Proverbs 10:19; Proverbs 14:23). In contrast, it highlights the importance of speaking the right thing at the right time.
Proverbs also notes that speech can be an asset to a righteous man in need to help, whereas a wicked man’s words can eventually become a trouble (Proverbs 12:6).
Finally, Proverbs concerns itself not only with those who speak but with those who listen. While there are adverse consequences for ignoring instruction (Proverbs 13:13), disaster can result from listening to and accepting what is false (Proverbs 29:12). Indeed, Proverbs cautions against accepting anything that is sad without careful discretion (Proverbs 14:15; 23:6-8).
In sum, one of the regular reminders of Proverbs is that words matter. They are powerful and must be weighed carefully by both speaker and listener. The wise do this well.
- Does your words lead people to knowledge and healing to relationships?
- Do you weigh carefully what you listen to?
Prayer: Father, I thank You for your love and mercies towards me. Holy Spirit, help me to know when speak and when to be quiet. Remind me to know that my words matter whether positive or negative.
Read: Proverbs 15:1-10