The quiet response

"Don't answer him back," my mother would tell me. My father loved an argument, and he enforced his position as head of the household with stern rules. A sister and a brother had left home because of him. But I began to learn that underneath his gruff exterior were some fine qualities. And long after his passing, his excellent sense of work and work ethics would help me immensely throughout my career. Of course I couldn't always avoid answering him back, but with my effort to give a quiet response there began to grow a more tranquil atmosphere between us.

Quietness and tranquillity! The Bible praises these qualities. We read in Isaiah, "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" and "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" (30:15; 32:17). Such qualities, then, as quietness and tranquillity have their source in God, and these qualities—rather than chaos, confusion, turbulence, tempest—express God's nature.

August 8, 1994

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