Thursday, February 18, 2010

Harsh Words, Gentle Words: Which to Choose?

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
-- Proverbs 15:1~2

There is a popular saying in Chinese: "More words, more mistakes. Few words, few mistakes. No word, no mistake." A very wise saying, and very true indeed.

A hungry and tired Ramon staggered into the living room of his house after a pressure cooker day at the office. His wife, Rowena, didn't smile at all because she felt ignored and unappreciated. Deep in her heart she wanted to be reassured that her husband still loves her more than his work, but somehow she couldn't express it that way. Ramon on the other hand just wanting only to eat and relax, chose to ignore the rising tension in his wife's eyes. A dry and highly combustible wall stood between the two, and it was only a matter of time before one of them would start a fire.

Then Rowena broke. She could no longer contain her emotion, so she stepped off the brake, floored the accelerator, and snapped at Ramon. "Why do you always come late? Why do you like to stay in your work more than our home?" Tension rising in her voice, as she fired one accusation after another.

At that very moment, the last thing that Ramon needed was a verbal tirade, so exasperately he pleaded his case. But Rowena, now armed with new tangible reasons to be mad (her husband's sullen look and insensitive remark) raised her voice a decibel higher than before. And on, and on went the two. Each verbal jab stoked the fire between them until it became uncontrollable. In the end both got burned.

How different would have been the outcome had Ramon heeded the adminition of the Holy Scripture. Instead of pouring gasoline over her wife's anger, it would have been wiser to soothe her with cool, gentle, and reassuring words. He may have to bend a little in his concept of what is reasonable; women can be very unreasonable creatures when hurt. He may have to cut a chunk off his pride, and looked at the situation from his wife's perspective. But aren't these small price to pay for peace and harmony in the home?

From time to time, we can be a Ramon. Therefore, we need to etch every words of God in our heart, and in mind. When emotion-stirring moments come, we need to rush back to these words for protection. Doing so will not only save us, but will also save our relationships with others from a whole world of trouble. So choose gentle words...

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