There is one birthday present that I have kept for over 30 years, it is a Bible that my mother and father gave me when I turned 15. I still have it, it is a Spanish leather Bible. My Dad wrote some words on it marking the occasion writing one of my Grandmother’s favourite verses: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV11)
I have always wondered why my Dad gave me that verse and why it was my Grandmother’s favourite verse. Well I don’t have to wonder too much, I know why!! I don’ know if this runs in the family but we like to argue and sometimes, well more than once I have said things that have offended the ones I love most and other people.
I remember that when I read that verse I smiled, thinking …”yes that is right, that is pretty much me”. Especially the second part of the verse “…but a harsh word stirs up anger”. I have in some way moved on from those teen years, however the use of harsh words are very easy accessible and potentially deadly.
Now that I am a Dad I have been reminded more than once about the use of my words and the effects that they have over my own family. Recently I said some harsh stuff to one of my kids and I knew I caused some hurt, I could see it in their eyes. It was a nasty powerful experience, it reminded me of my teen yeas and I saw myself answering back to my father but this time I was directing some harsh words towards one of my own.
I knew that what I said was totally wrong and I felt like a real fool. I was totally angry with myself, I let myself down and asking why am I saying these things …the tone of my voice and the spirit that it was said … and I felt the Presence of God moved away…
I felt totally convicted by the Holy Spirit and I went back and I said sorry, I apologised and I asked for forgiveness. My kids are gracious and I was forgiven, they showed me what Jesus does best, grace. I also felt God’s forgiveness and I felt the Presence of the Holy Spirit again.
But why? When I have been given gifts like the gift of Words of Knowledge and Prophesy and these gifts are for edification, strengthening and building people up. Why do I suddenly use harsh words that have the opposite effect?
I believe that Holy Spirit is the best Bible Teacher that we can ever have, I began to realise that I cannot separate what I do with who I am. It is the whole of me ministering to my family, my church and to God.
A “Gentle answer turns away wrath”. The meaning of the word “wrath” is “heat””be hot with anger” and even “venom”. So every time I use harsh words this leads me to give venom freely, burning with heat. This is not the Holy Spirit Fire, which build us up but another spirit, bringing death and destruction.
It is like prophesying doom and gloom over my own family and that is not what I have been called to do. When we speak this way it reflects what we carry inside and it does not edify. It is pretty scary to realise that we can come under the influence of the accuser, believing a lie and parenting with it. I have heard myself saying: “I cannot change, this is who I am”. That is the biggest lie that I can ever partner with.
Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, it is not timidity but it is a strong fruit of the Spirit that is and should be consistent in the life of a prophet, bible teacher, husband, father and friend. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit that should set us apart from an angry world. Gentleness is a description of the Holy Spirit Dove who rested on Jesus and it remains when we are at rest.
Consider this “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV11)
I am making a commitment to use to use my tongue to give life, to sow seeds of life and reap its fruits.