Scripture Focus: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” — Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

Dr. Richard Mouw, retired president of Fuller Theological Seminary and the author of Uncommon Decency has written another delightful book, Praying at Burger King. In it he says that Burger King is a perfect place to pray because you see people there from all walks of life. He goes on to say that during the many mornings when he had breakfast there he became aware of how badly the young people behind the counter were treated. He states that they were subjected to scathing and often relentless verbal abuse.

It became his mission to always say something encouraging and uplifting to these young workers. They were often surprised and grateful for his thoughtfulness. What a difference a kind word makes. Proverbs tells us that a gentle word turns away wrath. Presidential candidate Donald Trump says that if someone attacks him he hits back ten times harder. At the other end of the spectrum, one of the most endearing characteristics of President Reagan was that he most often responded to harsh criticisms with humor. He wisely turned a potentially damaging situation into a joyful one.

As Christians we are called upon, ”To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone.” Titus 3:2. Peter simplifies our challenge, “Honor everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, when I am tempted to verbally abuse my brothers and sisters remind me that you are the creator of us all and that when I dishonor another person I am dishonoring you. Amen.

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