Does a Soft Answer Turn Away Wrath?

Have you ever responded to someone in a way that felt great in the moment but eventually embarrassed you? Perhaps you wished you had handled it differently? Sometimes this seems like a never-ending cycle, but it doesn’t have to be.

There is a Better Way

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).

I must admit that I have spent plenty of time saying just the right thing to increase the wrath from others. Fortunately, I have also come to see the benefits of not doing so.

Have you seen how a timely gentle response can completely defuse a situation? It can quickly calm down a raging person and can completely shift the atmosphere in an entire room.

There is a spirit of peace that comes with a controlled response. Much more than what our eyes alone can see.

To be clear, I am not talking about letting people walk all over us. I am talking about an assertive, firm and calm response. One that is not solely driven by uncontrolled emotions.

A Necessary Disclaimer

Understanding and using this concept biblically doesn’t mean that a harsh or dramatic response is never appropriate. But it is a reminder that most often a calm, calculated, assertive response is exactly what is needed.

Jesus often gave what seemed to be harsh responses to people, especially the religious leaders at the time. But He was always speaking to what was in their heart. He never lost His cool or had any regret over how He handled Himself.

The Every Day Reality

We may think that we don’t have a choice in how we react, but when patterns show up in our lives, we make a choice whether to let them continue or to deal with them.

I have handled some situations very well and some not so well. As I reflected on each interaction and why they had different results, I could see that how it went often had more to do with me and my own heart than it did with the other person.

God loves you. And God loves the people he puts in front of you. Think about it: you have an opportunity to be different in those moments. Of course, there is the importance of remaining professional, but there is more to it. You are representing Christ.

This doesn’t mean we give a robotic response, but it means we should always have a response that we are still proud of an hour later.

We Need A Helper

It might seem impossible to do in your own strength. If you believe that, you are right.

We need God’s Holy Spirit to live through us to respond in this way. Our will power has a limit, but the power that Jesus had on earth and that we have in us today has no limit.

If we love people, we need to seek to see them the way God sees them. We need to separate the way they act from who they are and how much they matter.

Many times we have a choice to make in how we respond. Does anything come to mind for you? How can you ask God to get engaged and rely on His strength, so you can always be ready to make the right choice?

Do You Work With Excellence?

God does not do half-hearted work. It is in His nature to do the best work possible. But does He expect the same from us today?

Our Biblical Example

The Bible is filled with examples that demonstrate not only the importance of working with excellence, but also the requirement of working with excellence.

In the Bible, Daniel worked with a spirit of excellence that was even recognized by others (Dan. 6:3, Dan. 5:12). God was able to trust Daniel with delicate situations because he was faithful to Him and always did excellent work.

What has God already trusted you with? God often wants to see our faithfulness in small things before He can trust us with bigger things.

Joseph is another paramount example of working with excellence. Everything he did was to the best of his ability. So much so that his managers were concerned about nothing that was under his responsibility (Gen. 39:6, Gen. 39:23).

Often times we may not feel that we have the right abilities, but are we truly using all the abilities we do have?

Your Work is A Witness

The greatest witness a Christian can provide is often through their actions rather than their words. We have a great opportunity to demonstrate our faithfulness to the One we serve by the excellence of our work.

As author Tom Nelson writes in his book, Work Matters, “The excellence of our work often gives us the credibility to speak of the excellence of our Lord Jesus.” Nelson also recognizes that diligent stewardship is an authenticating mark of a true follower of Christ.

Would you want to listen to someone talk about Jesus if they were careless, complaining or lazy in their work?

Jesus and the Apostle Paul

The apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians under the assumption that they would excel in everything (2 Cor. 8:7). He wrote to Colossians that they should do their work with their whole heart as though they were working for God and not for man (Col. 3:23).

How often do we just see our work as something we simply do, rather than something we do for God?

Jesus told His followers to let their light shine for others to see, so they could glorify their Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Our light should shine in how we talk, how we act, and in the kind of work we do.

It seems quite difficult to imagine Jesus or the apostle Paul doing work that wasn’t done to the best of their ability. How much confidence would you have in buying a tent made by the apostle Paul?

Do people have that kind of confidence in the work we do every day?

What About You?

Sometimes we can become complacent if we aren’t careful. It’s good to take time to reflect and ask ourselves whether we are truly giving our best in everything we do.

Are you stuck or lacking motivation? Get alone with the Lord and ask Him to help. He has prepared everything for you to walk in and has exactly what you need to move forward with confidence and purpose.

Is it important to you to do your best work? What will you do this week to work with excellence?

Are the Events In Your Work Arbitrary?

What if all the circumstances in your work over the past few years were sovereignly ordered by God for your education? Would that change how you viewed some of the events? When you start to see God around you in your work, you will quickly begin to see how God can use everything.

If you are a follower of Christ, God’s Word promises that He will use everything for your good.

It may be difficult to believe at first, but God will not waste anything. Not even the mistakes we make, the difficulties we encounter, or the victories we enjoy.

Remember that God is always in charge

I recall a time when I felt betrayed by a coworker. At first, I kept busy stewing over how unfair and wrong their actions were, but eventually God was able to use it to teach me about relying on Him. He gave me the steps I needed to take to resolve the situation and to restore the relationship. This initial problem even led to other benefits within the team that I would have never expected.

How much are we missing out on because we have our eyes on the wrong prize? We think our work is about us and not about the God we serve.

How often do we complain and fail to recognize God’s hand and ability to use what comes to us? We waste time grumbling over details like how we have been wronged, all while God is waiting for us to look to Him so He can use circumstances for what He desires.

There is a better way

We don’t have to waste time grumbling. We can rise up and trust God with everything that comes to us in our work. Whether its good or bad, easy or difficult, clear or confused.

When we make up our mind to trust that God will not waste anything, we must remember that we have a spiritual adversary that wants to distract us from the truth.

This enemy wants you to focus on yourself and to forget the fact that God will use everything for your good. But we can walk and work by faith and trust in the promise of Romans 8:28 – that God will use all things for our good.

That means that no matter what you have been through and no matter what you are going through, God has plans to use it for your greatest benefit. He does so according to His complete knowledge of you.

It all comes down to one question – will you trust Him?

Do you trust God with your work? Do you trust Him to use you where you are today? Do you trust Him to develop you for where you’re going?

If we don’t see our circumstances through a lens of trust in God, we can disrupt what He wants to accomplish in us. We can even delay what God wants to prepare us for.

It’s time to lean in and embrace our circumstances.

What about your own work?

What can you see that God has already used for your development? Is there anything going on right now that you need to trust Him with more?

Is Work Important in the Bible?

Does work matter in the Bible? What does the Bible even say about the topic of work? The answers to these questions are foundational to our faith at work journey. You might be surprised to find out just how prominent work actually is in the Bible. You may be equally surprised at how much God uses work.

Work is a primary means God uses to bring about His will and His plans for mankind. Once we recognize it, it becomes clear that it is everywhere from Genesis to Revelation.

Major Ideas of Work in the Bible

The Bible has a lot to say about work. The Bible speaks directly to how we should work and even provides countless examples for us to follow. The Bible includes many different types of work, ranging from manual labor and household duties to teaching, managing, and leading.

Many overarching work-related themes are found in the Bible – here are just a few:

  • God works through people and partners with them in their work
  • God uses the work of His people to accomplish His will
  • God uses work to shape and develop people
  • God doesn’t waste anything when it comes to the work of people and the circumstances of their lives
  • God uses the work of people to extend His Kingdom on earth and expand His influence

These important work-related ideas, along with many others, are found throughout the whole of Scripture.

Work in the Old Testament

The Bible begins with a description of the work God did in creation and points to God as a worker. Did you know that the first words God said to His created man and woman together were directions to do work?

Since God is a worker and we are made in His image, when we work, we are putting God’s nature on display.

It is fascinating to note that work existed before sin entered the world. While the fall of man and sin brought a curse upon the earth and changed human’s experience of work, the nature of work remained good.

The Old Testament includes examples of massive work, such as Noah building the Ark, and Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. It also includes smaller work, like pouring oil into jars or baking bread. And we can’t forget the important work of the priests, prophets, judges and kings.

Joseph and Daniel stand as incredible examples of what it is to work for God and in partnership with Him. Have you thought about how everything they did was working with God?

Proverbs, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes give practical advice when it comes to work and applying God’s wisdom to daily life.

Work in the New Testament

Work and the marketplace played significant roles in the Gospels. The disciples were not pulled from the religious leadership of the time. Jesus found them in the marketplace where they were doing everyday work. The Gospels were written by workers, including a medical doctor, a tax collector and a fisherman.

The Rabbi’s at the time were expected to learn a trade to support themselves while they taught students. Paul was a tentmaker and Jesus was a carpenter.

Paul wrote about the basic expectations of work, including the importance of doing our work for God and not for man. He even warned the Thessalonians against idleness and went so far as to say that those who were unwilling to work should not eat.

Have you noticed that much of the apostle’s ministry activity was done in the marketplace?

Many of the parables of Jesus were related to work and included different types of work, such as management, farming, gardening, construction and shepherding.

Summing it Up

The prominence of the topic of work in the Bible speaks to its significance. The Bible contains work found in all segments of society, including: education, religion, family, business, government, arts, entertainment, and media.

From beginning to end, the Bible clearly reveals the sanctity and dignity of work. Work is found within the Creator Himself and humanity is called to continue God’s work on earth.

What About Today?

The breadth of work in the Bible has clear implications for today.

Can you see the significance of work in the Bible? Can you see the pattern of how God works together in partnership with people?

What do you think about the prominence of work in the Bible? How does what you see in the Bible about work affect how you see the work you do? Will you engage God in your work this week?