A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
~Proverbs 15:1, NIV
Words can be precious or they can be cheap: their value depends on how we use them.
I think Proverbs 15:1 was my mother’s favorite. I had it committed to memory by the time I was five; not because I could read but because she quoted it often, very often. I was raised with six siblings and we didn’t always get along. As a matter of fact, quarreling and fighting was our normal way of life and mother despised quarreling. Unfortunately, I may have been the eye of the storm. I was bad to argue and to raise my voice. One of the worse beatings I got was because I refused to apologize to a sister for unkind words I had spoken.
I have been chewed out more than once and ironically, I become mute when a woman is speaking her mind to me. Just a few years ago, I woman cornered me at Pecks. She got me as soon as I got out of the car. She told me in no uncertain terms that I was a hypocrite and how disappointed she was in me. I stood there in stunned silence. When she finished, I chuckles and said, “Well.” That one word was all that I could think of and she didn’t like it. She turned in a huff and walked away. I had basically the same thing happen a couple of years ago at church. I came in the sanctuary on Sunday morning and a woman pulled me aside and gave me a tongue lashing. She said I was cruelly insensitive and possibly the worse pastor in America. I did a little better this time. I apologized for my offensive words and assured her that I was sorry for speaking them.
The two stories have different endings. The first woman, who chewed me out at Pecks, later sent word through our children that her x-husband was depressed and needed one of June’s cakes. Big Mama wasn’t very pleased with this woman and if I had undone the leash, she would have clawed her eyeballs out. Big Mama said, “I’m not baking her a cake.” I said, “I want you to bake one because I want to be the one to deliver it.” Big Mama baked the cake and I delivered it and enjoyed every minute of the experience. The old heifer just sat their on the crouch, never moved, let a lone apologized for her tirade. The second lady, whom I respect much more, did come back and talk with me. She said, “I was a little hard on you. You are not the worse pastor in American. Maybe Alabama but not America.” I’m kidding, she simply apologized and I thanked her for doing so. I consider her a friend. I think we both learned for the experience.
Jesus calmed a storm with His words and we too can calm storms with our words. We can’t speak to the natural elements the way Jesus did but we can speak kindly to those who are upset with us. We may not be able to calm a storm on the sea of Galilee but we can calm a storm in our own home by being kind in our words. A soft answer can calm a storm. If we respond to pride and anger with more pride and anger, the storm will intensify rapidly and we will miss a blessing for “blessed are the peace makers.”
Our parking lot was full yesterday and it looked good. I found three empty spots in back and some of the handicaps spots were empty but the rest were filled with at least 5 cars parked in the grass. It was a beautiful sight. I thought perhaps we had a record crowd but old Gregg said only 364. If he wasn’t so good with numbers, I would say he missed it by a hundred but he don’t miss.
Our small group went pretty well: the fellowship and the food were great but we have a dominant Dan in our group and something is going to have to be done about him. I’ve already had a talk with him and he has assured me that he will say less and listen more. If he doesn’t improve, we are putting Brian in charge.
I blew my diet last night: Big Mama made a Mandarin Orange Cake last night. It was freshly iced and never put in the frig. In other words, the cake was still warm and the icing was cold. It was like eating cotton candy. I ate two big pieces and wanted more. Big Mama dragged me to the car to keep me from eating a third.