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The Impact of the Spoken Word

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."1

"Researchers at Kenyon College conducted a test in cooperation with the US Navy. The purpose was to discover how the tone of the voice affected sailors when they were given orders. The experiments revealed that the way a person was addressed determined to a large extent the kind of response he would make. For example, when an individual was spoken to in a soft voice, he would answer in a similar manner. But when he was shouted at, his reply came back in the same sharp tone. This was true whether the communication was given face-to-face, over the intercom, or by telephone."2

With yellers there is a tendency to yell back at him or her. However, other research has shown that if we answer a yeller softly in a soft tone of voice, he will have to lean forward to hear what we are saying and tend to lower his own volume—proving the truth of what the Bible taught so long ago: "A gentle answer turns away wrath."

Richard De Haan wisely said, "What we say and how we say it not only makes a difference in the reaction we'll receive, but it also determines whether conflict or peace will result. Many arguments could be avoided and tense situations relaxed if we understood [and practiced] this truth."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me in all situations to remain calm and peaceful and learn always when I speak, to speak the truth in love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV).
2. KneEmail Mike Benson, Editor. 4bens@sigecom.net

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Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.