“A gentle answer turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger.” (Prov. 15:1)
Traveling can make it difficult to stick to a regular exercise routine! In my family, exercise on the road comes in spurts—climbing Gros Morne (18.3 km) in 5 ½ hours—and stops—spending the next three days in the car! To keep myself in some kind of a healthy state on this trip, I got into the habit of going for a morning jog around the campground before the rest of the family awoke.
This particular morning it didn’t take me long to cover the roads that ran through to the various campsites, and feeling like there was still lots of energy left to burn, I started down a trail into the forest. When you are traveling anywhere in Canada, bugs are always something to contend with—especially in Newfoundland where I now found myself!—so it struck me as strange this morning, when I DIDN’T encounter any bugs on the forest trail! I WASN’T complaining, mind you; I was simply curious as to what was the reason behind the bugless state!
After covering a mile or so on the trail, I decided it was time to go back to camp, and I turned around. Imagine my surprise when I immediately encountered bugs! Lots of them! Everywhere! Thick across the trail! Where had they been my first time through? Why were they absent then and present now? And WHY DID THEY HAVE TO SWARM AROUND ME NO MATTER WHERE I WENT?
It took me a few moments of “swimming” through the hordes to realize that on my first trip through the forest, the bugs had probably been “resting” in the foliage. However, my passing through “woke” them up, so to speak. They saw me as a threat to their peace and quiet, and now they were out in droves to “protect” their resting places!
Suddenly the words of Prov. 15:1 came to my mind: “A gentle answer turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger.” Just like my passage through the forest “stirred” up the bugs, harsh words can “stir up” anger! In order to avoid “stirring up” wrath, you need to choose your words carefully and only use gentle words, no matter what emotions are stirring up inside.
The next time you are tempted to respond out of the emotion of your heart, remember my early morning run through the forest. Use gentle words to avoid stirring up the “bugs” of anger!
(To access the entire “Bugs” devotional series, please click here.)