“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (PV 15:1)
We just arrived at our hotel. The lady at the reception told my husband to write the name of his wife on the form. This is unusual. But we felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to say something at this point. We told her that we have been married for 44 years. She said ‘wow…this must be a serious commitment to stay together for better and for worse…I could have liked to tell others the same but I can’t… This is so great…what is your secret, guys?’ We told her that the open secret is God in the center of our marriage. We said that when we promised to stay married to the end, we meant every word for God is a God of covenant, who keeps His promises. He is the faithful God who blesses His faithful children. We owe to God to have the testimony of a successful marriage. It will give Him the glory!
Marriage is not easy. In fact, it is a lot of work to make it successful. From the many lessons learned along the way, this is one: ‘be angry but sin not!’ (Eph 4:26, 27). There is a great difference between a gentle and a harsh word. The same conversation in the morning, can turn from peace into war before midnight. The storm may quench or may become a hurricane before the close of the day. The boat of marriage may open the sails to enjoy the evening breeze or it may crash on the rocks of regret that same day.
The devil is real. He wants to ‘kill, steal and destroy’. When the devil attacks with anger, he will advise you to cooperate and increase it the more. He will provide free fuel to the arguments so that you alone will take the blame for the damage. Greedy and lazy people love free things and they end up being cheated. This is a very common strategy of the enemy. He starts the trouble and he will tell you how to continue it. Little disagreements turn to ugly battles where only the devil is a winner. Can you imagine that? The eternal loser becomes the winner for just one day? These are lessons you must learn and practice always if you desire to keep your marriage relationship strong and enjoy it to the end.
The first thing you need to see is that anger is a common emotion with all people. To some, these emotions manifest higher than to others. But these are common to all. When you admire a so called wise and cool headed man or woman, just know that this is not all the story. In the privacy of home, anger, jealousy, bitterness and hurtful words are spoken and exchanged. No man is perfect except our Lord. He is the eternal fountain of wisdom and the teacher of them who are willing to be His disciples. It is not enough to say ‘I will never be angry, no matter what any man does to me…I will always avoid trouble… ‘ These words sound good but are not practical in ‘the marathon race’ of an intimate relationship like marriage.
Please observe that when the evil spirit of division enters uninvited thru the door, when the passion of speaking harsh words comes into your home and when quarrels seem useful, you should recognize it as an evil attack! The earlier you do that the better. Words spoken in anger are designed to hurt and to destroy. Later, even when forgiveness, is applied, the wounds of bitter anger are difficult to heal. The best thing to do is to speak less and speak calmly. You can see that keeping a quiet grudge is not the solution! The solution is a ‘gentle answer’ that The Holy Spirit uses as a standard against the flood of evil high temper. You need to say something! Quietness is not always the best! What you say it and how you say it determines the end of that crisis. This is spiritual warfare and you need to be prepared to give a gentle and humble answer of wisdom based on the Word of God. That is why you store the Word in your heart!
Both examples of negative and positive influence are found in the story of Abigail and her husband Nabal. The harsh words of Nabal (which means a fool) provoked anger in David who became ready to kill him. But Abigail stopped that flood of evil and death thru her gentle answer of wisdom, humility and peace. Do not imitate hot headed fools! Do not attend their parties! Do not give the devil space thru anger, ignorance or foolishness! Be like Abigail! This is how you shall enjoy your marriage until Jesus comes! This is the secret of success in any relationship that God has blessed you with.
Pay the price for a godly enduring testimony, to the glory of God! You may have many regrets in life, but you shall never regret being wise and gentle under provocation, patient, loving, kind and humble. For these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and against such, there is no law to condemn! Be like Jesus! Let your light shine in that darkness where God, in His sovereign will, has planted you! Be an ambassador for Christ thru gentle answers spoken in His name and for His glory! Quench destructive anger thru the power of the Holy Ghost! Be a peace maker! Take this challenge! The reward is greater than what you can imagine! In Jesus name, amen!
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh
(This article was written in 2018. In the picture, my dear husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh and I during a trip to Romania)