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A Soft Answer

What type of effect would you like to have on the people in your life? Not just your family and friends, but how do you want to interact with society as a whole? When someone you’ve been around sits down at night and gets ready for bed, as memories of their day run through their heads, how do you want them to think about you?

Would you like someone to think about you as a gift they’ve been fortunate enough to have in their lives? Or do you want to be thought of as some kind of negative energy, something people would rather not have to come in contact with?

Too often it seems people don’t really care one way or another how they are thought of at the end of the day. When interacting with others it seems they don’t contemplate what the other people may be going through in their lives. And they don’t seem to worry about how their behavior will impact the others who have to deal with them.

I’ll use one example of something I’ve seen in the news a few times this year, and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate it to plenty of things you’ve had to come across in your life. Fast-food fury.

What would lead someone to climb out of their car window and in through a drive-through window at a restaurant? First and foremost would be an outstanding lack of discipline and self-control by a driver. A close second could be that the driver was very, very hungry and desperately needed sustenance or they might perish. Okay, maybe that’s not believable. Probably, what really has provoked behaviors like this were uncaring and not well thought out responses from fast-food employees.

Now, fortunately I haven’t been at these restaurants where video tapes have been shown of employees being attacked by customers. I can only make assumptions about who really said what to start these ridiculous displays. What I do know is this; a couple thousand years ago a wise man wrote the following:

A soft answer turns away wrath: but harsh words stir up anger. (KJV, Proverbs 15: 1)

Even if an angry person approaches us, we don’t have to respond in like form. If we are disciplined, we can greet anger with love, compassion, and understanding. Surprisingly (or not) anger often dissipates when there’s no one to be angry at. When someone rudely asks why their burger was made the wrong way, an employee can (with kind words and little expense) quickly rectify the situation. A new burger can be made, exactly as the possibly, picky person requested. And the new burger can be handed over with a smile.

Or an employee can respond, in the way it appears some have, and fights can break loose.

Again, I wasn’t at those particular restaurants. I didn’t really hear all of who said or did what. And I’ve never been a perfect person who was always 100% disciplined. I do try though, and I do contemplate how what I say or do effects others. I need to keep contemplating those things every day and not only think about them, but always interact with people in a way that will leave them better off then when they came across me.

Then, my soft answers will leave indelible impressions.

ken mccardell

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