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February 9, 2014

Text:  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1

The book of Proverbs is a peerless source of practical wisdom and character building.  The authors who contributed to this collection of practical wisdom had all learned the practice of writing tersely. Their words were honed on the whetstone of undertaking to instruct humans to be pleasing to God and successful  in this world. If you are looking for nuggets of wisdom to shape your character, deeply study its contents, then graft it into your behavior.

Most people desire peace; others cause strife with their words. Anger flares, and discord multiplies in the outburst of rowdy argument. James wrote of man’s speech organ: “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3:6 

What causes rancor and strife? What causes discord and hurt feelings? What causes hatred and  smoldering revenge? Most often anger! Slanderous statements, curses, threats, and hostilities usually are propagated and sustained by pent up anger. Anger can spread like a prairie fire, or it can simmer like a pot of beans. Anger destroys love, friendship, cooperation. and inner peace.   Mark Twain wrote:  “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Don’t let anger poison your own soul and destroy all about you.

Lack of self-control is a significant contributor to disharmony.  Do not think that you can not control yourself. God gives us the ability to practice self-control.  “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and of self control.” II Timothy 1:7  However, it is up to our own spiritual efforts to attain it!  Self control  is the management of run-away desires. It is the effort to exterminate from our souls the sinful thoughts and activities which we let master us. Self control is the integrating of good spiritual virtues in our lives of godly obedience.  Paul shrewdly   employs the figure of an athlete to illustrate. I Cor 9:25  

Peace is a great prize of Christian  behavior. It is the banishment of unrest in  our souls and trouble. If you conducted a poll about peace, it would probably be one of the first characteristics on everyone’s list. Satan wants you to destroy peace and create strife in your soul. Richard Nixon once said, “When the situation gets hot, keep the rhetoric cool.” That is the aim of a Christian. Philippians 4:7 Find peace with yourself and others. Serve the Prince of peace, Jesus.

So, what should we be doing as Christians in a world seething with unrest? First, you must work at controlling yourself. Put on the restraints and expel the evils from  your heart. That leads to, second, take the reins of your life, thoughts, and behaviors. They are your responsibilities!,  Third, internalize peace in you mind and heart, and plant the seeds of peace in the hearts of others.

” The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord life up his countenance upon you and give you peace. ” Numbers 6:24

And, oh yes, always speak to others with a kind and gentle answer.



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