In conversing with your spouse or vice versa, does this question sound familiar, “Why don’t you answer to the point?”

I was planning to go to Operation Mobilization library to spend the entire day to study and write. It takes one-hour drive from my house or even more depending on the traffic. To me this journey is often hard, for it is a busy road and I cannot avoid pollution and traffic hassle. So as I was getting ready and informed my wife about my day’s schedule, she curiously asked me, “Are you coming back in the afternoon?” Boom! “What on earth are you asking,” I thought to myself. That questioned annoyed me beyond reason. Think—by the time I go there, after traveling hard, I will be just two hours ahead before afternoon. And this woman, I thought, is asking me whether I will be coming back in the afternoon, as if it is something behind the house.

After hearing her, I blurted out, “How can you ask me such a question? How do you think I will come back by afternoon?” What a reckless response that was! Although some questions sound silly, such fretful response can easily put me into conflict with my wife, wrecking my entire day. After that incident, the Spirit of God started to deal with my heart with these convicting thoughts – Is it necessary to answer recklessly, although the question may seem funny? Can’t I just say, “No, dear. I will be coming in the evening”? There might be something on her mind to ask that question, so I can go a little further and ask, “Is there anything important you have for me?” What great peace such a gracious response would save for the day!

I can relate many such ungracious responses that quickly wreck peace at home. And I think you may relate such too. How many times have we been irritated at home because of some questions we think are weird! Consider the following:

Question: Where is my phone?
Ungracious response: Can’t you see, it is on the TV?

Question: When is he coming?
Ungracious response: How many times should I tell you?

Question: Are we going out today?
Ungracious response: Why do you ask such a question? Are you not interested to come?

Question: What happened to…..?
Ungracious response: Are you not aware? Should I tell you something new again?

These are just a few examples. There will be volumes if we probe and open up. Have you been in a situation where you were on a smooth drive and suddenly, to your shock, some vehicle pops out from the other side, making you scared to death? Such responses, as mentioned above, are like that threatening vehicle when somebody asks a smooth question. Did you experience how an ungracious response provokes a person to anger, eventually leading to quarrel? Is it worth responding in such a way?

Can’t we be patient enough to respond kindly? What do we lose if we gently answer to questions which seems unreasonable and irritating to us? What is patience by the way—is it not putting up with the unpleasant situations? Will not a little patience in our response save us from insurmountable troubles? Did we seriously ponder over these words, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Pro. 15:1)?

To cultivate respectful communication and peaceful atmosphere in the house, I have learned this—gently answer to the point. Period. No extra questioning. No unnecessary answers. Why should I foolishly put myself into speaking so many words of offense and later, to rectify my folly, speak so many words of apology when I can politely answer few words to the point! It is always good and beneficial to respond kindly straight to the thing, even though the question may seem pointless. After all, are we not saving the energy (of our tongue) and peace (of our heart) in answering right to the point?

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Stephen David