Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but one slow to anger calms strife.” Proverbs 15:18 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Calm things down instead of stirring things up.”
In a previous devotional message I referred to the truth that people can either be like a thermometer or a thermostat. A thermometer simply measures the temperature in a room and reflects it back. A person who is like a thermometer simply reflects back whatever the emotional temperature in a room is. However, while an actual thermometer is neutral, in that it doesn’t change anything it just reflects back what is already there, a person who is like a thermometer is not neutral – they can actually make things worse. By simply reflecting back the emotional environment in the room you end up adding to it. For instance, if people in the room are already angry, and you reflect that back, now there is one more person in the room who is angry and the level of anger just increased.
An actual thermostat changes things. It adjusts the temperature in the room up or down (and that can be good or bad depending on what’s needed). Likewise, a person who is like a thermostat interacts with the emotional environment and changes it, for the better or for the worse (change can make things better, or change can make things worse).
Today, in Proverbs 15:18, Solomon makes reference to a person who makes things worse by stirring up anger. He could be a thermometer who is simply reflecting back what other people are giving off, or he could be a thermostat who takes an otherwise peaceful situation and changes it by introducing anger. A hot-tempered person always makes things worse.
We’ve all known angry people like this. They often seem to have anger percolating just below the surface and you never know when it’s going to boil up and spew out. Such people often have hair triggers, they’re usually easily offended, and they can be tough to have around. They make things worse instead of better with their anger.
Each of us is personally responsible for the tone we set in our conversations; we are responsible for the words that we speak, and by the way that we speak them. By now in this long devotional series about changing the tone of the conversation, we can easily see that this is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. No one can “make” you mad. You have to let them make you mad. You are responsible for your own emotional state and you are responsible for the words that come out of your mouth.
Don’t be the angry person who stirs things up. Instead, be the one who blesses others by choosing reactions that make things better instead of worse. Be the one who calms things down.