There’s a fellow I know who apparently gets up every morning determined to figure out how many different ways he can pick an argument and how many people he can aggravate. He’s the kind of guy who, if you observe that the sky is blue, will insist that it’s really pink.
Every once in a while I run into him, and he seems always ready to poke and prod to elicit a response. I’m not the only one he targets, but he seems to have a fondness for me – maybe because my natural tendency is toward bullheadedness. Since I’m inclined to air my own opinions, he and I have crossed words on more than one occasion.
Recently I arrived for a meeting and sure enough, this man made a comment he knew would get my attention. I tried to offer a light-hearted response rather than accept his invitation to spar verbally, but he would have none of it. He made another snide remark. This time, however, I decided to zip my lip and heed the words of Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
I walked away and went about my business. Even though he tossed another zinger my way a few minutes later, I resolved to remain silent rather than fall into the temptation to give him a piece of my mind that I could ill afford to lose.
Elsewhere, the book of wisdom declares, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). I don’t always succeed in following that advice, I’ll admit. But as I grow older and more mellow, I think I’m making steady progress. Hopefully that will continue.