Mind Your Language

Ernest-Onuoha‘A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,’ Proverb 15:1.

IN life and in human relationship, the choice of words is very essential. Words, if properly used, would enhance communication and human relationships. On the contrary, conflict may set in, if not properly couched. Therefore, King Solomon would like people of God to live in peace and share good neighbourliness, hence his advice.
Solomon was aware that when the voice is rising, harsh words would produce angry response. He, therefore, urges all and sundry to mind the language they use as they relate with one another. He noted: a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

It is to be noted that the Bible is replete with examples, where words were used wrongly and at the end had some negative consequences. You may wish to read Judges 8: 4-17 and 1Samuel 25: 1-12. In these chapters particularly 1Samuel 25:1-12, we are presented with a man called Nabal, who was not only foolish but also spoke foolishly to those David sent, when they needed bread and water in the desert. The way he spoke to the messengers made David to vow not only to deal with him but his entire household. This quickly reminds us that “knowing what to say is not important, but knowing how to say it”.

Indeed, the mood of the nation suggests we should be careful in our choice and use of words. People are not happy; they are hungry and are suffering. So, in our human interaction and communication, we should not lose sight of these. We have a good dosage of Bible passages to help our communication and human interactions. Please read: Judges 8:1-13. 1Samuel 25:14-35, Luke 23:34 and Act 7:6. In 1Samuel 25:14-35, we see a woman in sharp contrast with her husband by name Abigail. She was presented to us as a woman with the right choice of words. In fact, her kind and considerate use of words prevented David from committing mass murder. We thank God for her temperament and right use of words.

However, what do we see today? There are some persons whose use of words can upset their husbands or wives or bosses or leaders. Their words can set a whole village, an organisation or nation on fire. We can hear such aggravating words like: “I regret marrying you”, “what a useless village we have” and “our leaders are thieves,” among others.

Unfortunately, we see that people are not mindful of the language they use as they interact within and outside the church. The words of Jesus is very important here “everyone gives account of every useless word he/she utters on the last day” Matthew 12:36. It, therefore, behooves, the believer to think deeply before embarking on the use of words. We need ourselves and we need our relationships. We, therefore, hope that God who endowed us with the ability to speak will grant us the favour to use words appropriately to His praise and glory.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical
Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.

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