Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)
TITLE: A SOFT ANSWER
By Phyllis Inniss
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A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.
In these times of upheavals and wars, belligerence takes precedence over kind words and gentle actions. No one wants to give way or yield to others. People rush in where angels fear to tread. Drivers squeeze their cars in front of yours, leaving you with very little space to avoid a collision. Waiting for a parking place could present a problem as you see another in a more advantageous position just comes in time to slide in before you. These incidents have caused angry scenes, even erupting into fights.
However, if we continue to walk with the Lord, he shows us a better way to handle unpleasant and difficult situations. When I was young I would get angry whenever I thought someone was taking advantage of me. I would stand my ground and spout all the things I felt the other person was guilty of. I gradually discovered that some of those who were inclined to wrong others were people who were devious and used tricks to put those standing against them in a bad light. There were those who connived with others to get support for their wrongdoing and used favours as a bribe.
On my return after seventeen years in the U.K. I was told by a relative that a close relative of mine was doing something wrong. I was very angry. I decided to ask the wrongdoer about it when next we met. Well, she came by with an ATTITUDE. It was as if she was ready to do battle with anyone who confronted her with anything. I had on a few occasions previously faced the wrath and fury of this very close relative. I thought better about approaching her on any subject and left the matter alone.
What compounded the whole situation was the close resemblance we bore each other at one time. People who took me for her did not even know I was not around when this unpleasant affair began. Even people who knew us both would surprise me when they called me by her name. I was angry and hurt at how things turned out for me. But for my son Noel I would have gone back to the U.K. He came to Trinidad at an age when he appreciated the difference in the lifestyle and the kind of freedom he was enjoying in a warm country and a closely-knit society.
I took a hands-off approach to the situation and kept asking God to clear my name. This led me to praying seriously and communing closer with Him. Eventually, I went to the resident Minister of my church.. He told me that he had had a similar experience. It wasn’t a relative he looked like, but someone who had been in jail and who had a strong resemblance to him. He was studying theology at the time and found it embarrassing to be taken for a jailbird. However, he prayed with me and I felt light and free afterwards.
I sought comfort in the Word. I read the Bible more assiduously. I listened to the pastors on T.V. and looked up texts they referred to. I realized that because I was innocent, I was only thinking of myself and how I was feeling. I thought the anger and resentment shown to me was helping to assuage the guilt and shame my relative was feeling. When someone looked at me to make me cringe, which of course I didn’t, I would think of how that relative felt when people looked at her that way. So I prayed more fervently. I also realized that God was leading me to a place where he wanted me to be and all this was part of His plan.
There is only one weapon against injustice. That weapon is prayer. A fervent prayer to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and trying to live up to his Word. Living up to his Word is not always easy. We have to transform ourselves. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:23 “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Whenever something is said to me to rile me, I answer contrary to what is expected and without rancour or hostility. I learned from the teachings of Jesus and his apostles that a soft word does in fact turn away wrath.
Quotes taken from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible
U.K. Spelling used throughout.
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