A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
In my attempt to find a place to connect with God, I tried a new church today. And I think I may go back. The message was on discipleship, and I was surprised to find it resonated with me. The pastor had four principles of discipleship: (1) disciples are made, not born; (2) a disciple is a follower; (3) not every disciple is a great disciple; and (4) discipleship is about helping to take the next step of obedience. The third and fourth principles are what affected me most, though.
The main idea behind the third principle, that not every disciple is a great disciple, was that we need to love God above everything else in life. One thing I took away from this principle was that, once we are followers of Christ, making a mistake does not make us any less of a Christian. No one is perfect, not even the original 12 disciples. To be a great disciple means to love God above everything, including whatever situation you are facing—it means to trust He will take care of everything.
The fourth principle is pretty self-explanatory, but what stuck with me was the idea of a community of believers to walk with you, to help you find, and take, your next step of obedience. I’ve been without that (physical) community for a while, and, after today, I could see the affect it has had on me. Namely, I don’t have people I can talk to, connect with, people to walk with me. I feel God has been moving on my heart about my next step of obedience to Him, but I don’t have a community to go to who can support me or guide me.
But how does this connect to the verse in Proverbs?
Honestly, I lost the thread that connected the sermon to the verse. The pastor ended the sermon with Proverbs 15:1, and I only remember that he said it was the first verse he had memorized. It really impacted me, though, and I felt like maybe my next call of obedience is to be soft, to answer softly.
In the past, in any argument, I would speak before thinking. Of course, I would later regret what I had said, but, as we all know, you can’t take back anything you say. This made it difficult for me to admit when I was wrong, to apologize, or even try to make amends in any way.
A lot has made me frustrated recently, and it seems my patience and temper are more on edge lately. I try not to snap at people, but if you could be in my head…
So, I’ve decided I will be soft. Another reframing of my mind. I will breathe, I will pray, I will do what I need so my mind and my mouth are in sync.
Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.
I don’t want my mouth to say things that are not in my heart, like it has in the past. I need to make an active attempt to align all of myself.
The only way I know to do this is to pray, and I think that is the point God is trying to make to me—the only way to be in alignment is to follow and trust Him.
Maybe that’s the thread that connects it all.
I encourage you, too, to be soft in all things. Pray before speaking. Answer gently. You never know what affect it will have.