I've been thinking about Proverbs 15:1.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
In all my years of Bible study, I assumed this passage was merely cautionary in regards to the harshness associated with raising our voices in the literal sense. But with each passing day as I heal from the effects of the psychological abuse that contributed to my divorce, I find myself face to face with the fact that God is far more interested in the inner man than the outer.
"For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).
I did a little research on the words:
Soft, translates as tender in Hebrew.
Answer: to begin to speak, respond, bear witness; to cry or shout.
Wrath: "from heat." Hot displeasure; to be furious. Anger associated with a fever that poisons.
Here's another interesting fact: To bear witness means your words are coincidental to your deeds. In other words, what's the motive behind what you're speaking to another person? If it's to resolve conflict, then your words will be tender--vs combative and accusatory, which only creates chaos. This speaks to more than the sheer volume of a person's voice.
This is important to know if you're in a relationship with a passive-agrressive person. A passive-aggresive person who rarely shouts can be a master at manipulating outcomes via undermining, sabatoging, ommission of truth, and ignoring a loved one. Nothing soft about any of that! Dr Phil once said, "having a conversation with a passive-aggresive person is like trying to nail jello to a wall."
I know well, the feverous anger it fosters in the heart. It's poisonous to the mind, body, soul, and spirit. Sadly, I didn't recognize how damaging it is because I grew up in a household of screamers. In my mind, non-yeller = safe.
Are you healing from the effects of a passive-aggressive person? Ask God to talk to you about YOU. Ask Him to reveal the broken places in your own heart that caused you to enter into and maintain a painful relationship. And then let Him love ALL of you. Not just the broken parts. Whether you think so or not, there are aspects of you that are fully functioning and beautiful. Learn to embrace this too!
Later, when the dust settles, and you can breathe and eat and sleep and smile again, lasting freedom will require you to come to terms with the role you played to contribute to the erosion of your personal worth and the toxicity in the relationship.
And now for my favorite movie line from Living Out Loud:
Judith Moore (Holly Hunter) to her soon-to-be ex-husband after leaving her for another woman:
"What was it? What was I so afraid of that I thought you were the better choice!?"
My best life lesson lately?
When someone cares for me and there is conflict between us, the energy behind was is spoken is as important as the words themselves. Peace makers seek peace. True peacemakers seek to understand and be understood. They're not out to build a case against you, win an argument, or prove a point. If during a conversation, the vibe is accusatory, combative, or chaotic, I protect myself by ending the conversation. Perhaps it can be revisited another day. But I will not subject myself to the wrath that is sure to rise in my heart and, subsequently, flow from my mouth when I force myself to listen to something that feels mean-spirited for fear of being told I don't listen. Nope. I'm a "jumper."
"A scientist conducted an experiment. She put frog number one into a pan of very hot water. The frog jumped right out. Then she placed frog number two in a pan of cool water. This frog didn't jump out. Very gradually, the scientist raised the temperature of the water. The frog gradually adapted until it boiled to death." --Anonymous
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 @ 9:01 AM CDT