Words: Fight Angry Fires

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

Have you spent much time playing with fire? Okay, it’s not the best habit, but fire is fascinating. To burn, fire needs fuel and oxygen. That’s why people trying to get a fire going use dry wood (or lighter fluid) and give the fire a little room to breathe. We even blow gently on a flickering fire to give it a little boost of air.

words_350Harsh words are like lighter fluid for the fire of anger. Use an edgy tone to squirt a few hard words onto the spark of an irritation and — fwoom! — instant inferno.

Instead, try this: Use a few gentle words to sprinkle a little kindness, a shower of understanding on a growing flame — and watch it die in a hiss of smoke. Gentle words are a way of removing the fuel anger needs to grow, of sucking away the air it feeds on to spread. Be a firefighter with words.

Think: Have you ever experimented with ways to put out a fire? How can you use gentle words in a similar way to cool down a conversation with a friend or family member?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be a fire-killer instead of a fire-starter when it comes to anger.

Do: Watch this PBS commercial and imagine if we all used our words to fight the fires of anger.