‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ PROVERBS 15:1
Do you sometimes find yourself saying, ‘I get so angry when they refuse to listen to my viewpoint. How can I make them listen and hear what I’m trying to say?’ Unless you’re involved in an official debate, arguing with someone who’s unwilling to listen is useless and a waste of time. State your viewpoint with clarity and purpose, but don’t become defensive and argumentative if it’s not received. You’ll only hurt yourself and the relationship if you become argumentative. Don’t allow anyone to draw you into strife or arguing. Hold your tongue, and try to remember these words of wisdom: ‘A gentle anger turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of a fool spurts folly’ (Proverbs 15:2 NAS). What must surely be one of the most frustrating conversations in history was reported in Theatre Arts Magazine. A subscriber, wishing to report on a particular upcoming event in his community, dialled directory enquiries to get the magazine’s telephone number. The operator drawled, ‘Sorry, but there’s nobody listed by the name of Theodore Arts’. The subscriber insisted, ‘It’s not a person; it’s a publication. I want Theatre Arts.’ The operator responded, this time a little louder. ‘I told you, we have no listing for Theodore Arts in this city. Perhaps he lives in another city.’ By now the subscriber was thoroughly peeved. ‘Confound it, the word is theatre: T-H-E-A-T-R-E!’ The operator came back with equal certainty in her voice, ‘That – is not the way to spell Theodore.’ Arguing; it’s a waste of time.


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