Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
This verse has been coming in handy lately, at home as well as in my classes at church. Maybe it’s the warmer weather that makes everyone, including myself, be quick tempered with others, but this was a necessary lesson that we all needed to hear again.
I used this at home with my own boys when they were kept talking harshly with each other. It’s understandable because they are always around each other, since we homeschool, but not excusable. I sat them both down, ages 9 and 5, and read this verse to them. My older one understood it on a deeper level than my younger son, but he still understood the meaning.
I used this in my Wednesday night class when we were talking about gentleness. They are 1st grade-5th grade children and it was around the end of the school year for most of them. I have been noticing that they haven’t been very gentle with each other in their words or actions and so this verse fit right in to my other lesson.
I have also noticed how I have been responding to my children lately. I haven’t been remembering what it says in James 1:19-20, “This you should know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” I have been just the opposite lately. I have been slow to listen to my children (at home and at church), I have been quick to answer them (without really listening), and have become angry way too quickly.
This all need to change….NOW!
I just simply talked with the children, at home as well as my students in my class. We read the verse in each version of the Bible that we had there. Then I asked a lot of questions, in order to make them think, and for us to discuss:
- What does it mean to have a gentle answer?
- Give me an example of a gentle answer?
- What does wrath mean? Are there other words that are synonyms (mean the same) with “wrath”?
- What are some things that make you really angry? How do you respond to those things?
- Do you respond with a gentle answer?
- What does it mean to have a harsh word?
- What does it mean to “stir up anger”? Do I need a spoon for that?
- How does this all work together?
After we had completely discussed the meaning of the verse, I pulled out 2 small stuffed animals that my son let me borrow. I “acted” out a scenario of a conversation between the 2 animals to demonstrate the verse. I first acted with a harsh word and then I acted with a gentle answer. If we had more time in class, I would have let them get into pairs and act it out themselves.
I have been able to remind my own kids, the kids in my class at church, as well as have been reminded myself to respond more gently towards each other in our words as well as our actions by using this verse! It has helped tremendously and I hope it helps you, too!
Related Ideas – We have a lesson plan for kids about controlling their anger and some object lessons about anger & self-control. Don’t forget that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.