“WISDOM OF LIVING (10): SOFT WORDS” By Pastor Yau
INTRODUCTION: Almost in every culture, people understand the power of words, be it constructive or destructive. Words are used to communicate thoughts, ideas, information and even emotion. But words are also used to stir up anger, to inflict mental injury or even to destroy the character of another person. The Hebrew sages, as well as many wise men in other cultures, observed and concluded that it is of serious imperative that we use words properly for the best benefit of the one who speaks and the one who listens.
THE POWER OF WORDS: Words are used to express thoughts and emotions of the speaker. They are meant to demonstrate what is on the inside of man. King Solomon observed that: “Gentle answers turn away wrath, but hash words stir up anger.” There are at least two principles we may learn from this sentence.
1) The choice of words has tremendous impact on others. The right way, soft way, of using words may turn away existing wrath, while the wrong way, hash way, may induce anger from no where. Few people have the power of controlling emotions in others, but we all have the power to reduce, defer or even eliminate strong emotions by using soft words, words that calm people down, sooth their irritation or make peace with people who are otherwise ready to explode. The way soft words were used by Gideon, the famous O. T. Judge, to sooth the angry emotion of the Ephraimites is a classic example of success. (Judges 8:1-3)
2) The choice of words up to us. When King Solomon said: “A soft answer”, he didn’t mean you have a soft question. What he meant is regardless of what kind of a question posted to us, we always can choose to give a soft answer. We can’t control how people ask their questions, but we do have control on how we answer them. Too often, people were enraged by hash words of others and become insane to say or do crazy things to which they regret later. By the grace of God, we need to learn how to control our emotion when faced with hash situation.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH HASH WORDS? We all know that using hash words is wrong or bad. But how bad is it? If we know more, we may be more concerned to avoid that.
1) Too often hash words are misplaced: Often times, people fuss with hash words on the wrong people. They have bad feelings, wounded spirit or angered by someone else at work, in school or their boss and they pour out their frustration or anger on innocent third party, usually those who are close to them. This can only further hurting everyone around.
2) Too often hash words are misunderstood: Words spoken in anger or frustration are usually not the best words and they do not carry the exact meaning you want them to. Usually people don’t understand your real intention or meaning, causing more misunderstanding than understanding.
3) Hash words seldom solve any problem: Hash words usually carry more emotion than reason. They don’t help in problem solving. Usually they do more harm than help. When feelings are hurt, reasoning power is gone and problems are deepened.
HASH WORDS ALSO HURT YOURSELF: Many people were hurt because of hash words including yourself. It is hard to list all the possible hurts inflicted by hash words. Here are few examples.
1) They hurt your image: Words represent your personality and character. Hash words show your weak or immature nature that hurts your image before people. Few people respect those who cannot control their mouths and words.
2) They also hurt your mental condition: Hash words are the result of temporary insanity in your mental power. You lose control in saying things you don’t know the consequence.
3) They also hurt your physical condition: Hypertension, indigestion, sleepless night, immune system, etc. are all hurt because of emotional imbalance due to lose control of words.
4) Hash words destroy interpersonal relationship: Too many beautiful relationships, including those in marriage, family, work place or politics, are destroyed because of reckless words spoken without second thought.
IS SOFT-SPOKEN A SIGN OF BEING WEAK?
1) Just the opposite. It takes lot more energy and strength to control emotion than to lash out on others with careless words. Everyone can hurt people, but only those who have the inner strength and wisdom know how to control a situation with proper words.
2) Soft-spoken people earn respect from others. If you are a leader, knowing what to say and how to say it is a plus in leadership.
3) Soft words preserve relationship which may one day be important to your future. In this world of interdependence, you never know when and where you need others.
COMCLUSION: Few people will face life threatening situation of extreme condition. But all of us will face undesirable life situations you never ask but just drop into your laps. It is very important to know what to say and how to say it to smooth out the wrinkles of life. Words that carry anger, judgmental, provocative and irrational accusation can only hurt both the speaker and the receivers. Memorize this verse, and repeat it when you are at the edge of explosion. It is never too late to curb your way of words.