May 20 2020: Proverbs 15:1-7
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
5 A fool despises a parent’s instruction,
but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the minds of fools.
While the first nine Proverbs are written in a more narrative or conversational style, the next set, Proverbs 10-29, are primarily two-line poetic couplets with the subject constantly changing, almost in stream of consciousness style. In most cases, the positive is stated first, with the balancing opposite forming the second half of the couplet and serving as a warning of sorts to the reader. This is the pattern seen here.
I would guess that many of us could read these couplets and recall a specific instance, perhaps even in recent history, when we have seen these bits of wisdom played out. For example, when have you been able to diffuse a tense situation by heaping even more coal onto the fire through harshly spoken words? It is the wisdom of the calm response in the face of heightened emotion that is often needed to bring the temperature down.
What if you tried today to live out just one of these bits of wise advice? Which would you choose? Might it make for a better day? A stronger relationship? A more peaceful rest?
What about you?