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Shouting and whispering

A gentle answer quietens anger, but a harsh one stirs it up. When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but stupid people spout nonsense. The Lord sees what happens everywhere; he is watching us, whether we do good or evil.

Proverbs 15 : 1 - 3 (GNB)

As I am sure many of you have seen at one point or another, the build-up to an argument or fight commonly features a rapid escalation in the volume of those involved. Each trying to out-do the other. As a Street Pastor, I can say that I have certainly seen this many times. Something as simple as a spilt drink can quickly escalate from nothing into a full-blown shouting match that the rest of the street can hear.

What does raising our voice to our opponent do? Does it make our point clearer, more coherent or convincing for the other person? No. Does it help to diffuse the situation so that it can be settled calmly? Definitely not.

As we can see in this week's verse, and I am sure you have seen in your own experience it does quite the opposite. Squaring up to your opponent and raising your voice just creates more tension and throws logic, reason and compromise out the window. Someone screaming "Come on then you @?%$..." at the top of their voice probably isn't in the right frame of mind to have a wise well thought out conversation, even if the point they are trying to make is right and valid.

Although this reaction might be human nature it is not a Godly nature. As we see the best way to resolve a dispute (hopefully before it escalates to an argument or fight) is to speak calmly and thoughtfully. If you are someone who is hot tempered maybe this will require walking away and trying again once you have calmed down, or writing your thoughts down instead.

A calm and collected response is much more likely to be constructive than screaming a load of hurtful abuse at the top of your voice.

Going against your nature and staying calm will not be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. Have a great week and remember the power of a whisper.

This week's song is Ever Be by Kalley Heiligenthal

Header image by: su neko via Flickr