A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. -Proverbs 15:1
I got covered in word vomit the other day. Like any upchuck episode, it came on suddenly and I couldn’t think to back away before I was left in shock and my outlook was ruined.
What do you do when someone tells you things they shouldn’t be saying? I make a point to stay out of drama. Ignorance is bliss. In all of the times I can produce words with ease, this was a time I responded with a stutter. “This is news to me. I’m in shock from you telling me.”
I wanted to be gentle, but also let the other know what just happened. They just got sick on me and I was dirtier for it.
Word vomit is contagious. The sudden outburst of emotion catches.
Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. -Proverbs 15:2
The tongue reveals the fool. I’ve been that fool and I know how it feels to want to take the words back. I’ve practiced silence and it feels so much better. No pangs of regret. Time reveals the truth and I’ve learned to not fill that time with the words of nonsense. If you must speak, speak as though the situation is on the road to healing and the person with the leaky faucet just doesn’t know it yet.
It’s not, “I hope it straightens up.” It’s, “This will work out and maybe the road to healing can be helped by you?”
God doesn’t miss a thing— he’s alert to good and evil alike. -Proverbs 15:3
The tongue is the hardest thing to control. But you must control it. If you’re angry about the fire, then stop fanning the flames. A kind word… a gentle response… this is what is needed in an unstable situation. Be the stability with the “God works out all things according to his purpose” frame of mind.
Wisdom is found from the end looking back. Scrambling to be heard, to get people on your side, to taint or even just reveal the flaws of the other side is not an act of wisdom. If, in the end, you’re all on the same side, then what do your words look like then? More reasons to apologize. I’m sure we’ll all have enough apologizing to do when this life is said and done. Don’t make it messier. Life is messy as it is.
Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim. -Proverbs 15:4
I backed away from the word vomit and gathered myself enough to wipe it off. I walked away with a fresh reminder that words should be few, especially when you’re angry. It doesn’t matter if what was said is true, it’s an ugly thing to witness someone get sick on their words.
Angry, backbiting words are not inspiration from God. It’s all you. Silence should be the choice when yours is the only voice you can hear.
Take a deep breath and be kind. Situations get worked out when the vomiting stops.