The Last Word

[O]ut of the overflow of the
heart the mouth speaks.
   —Matthew 12:34

The debate had been acrimonious. Each candidate was now instructed to make a two-minute uninterrupted closing statement. The first had barely begun when he was interrupted by his angry opponent screaming inflammatory accusations. The speaker who had the floor calmly waited for the heckler to finish, then continued his closing statement.

Asked why he hadn’t responded in kind to his opponent, he said, “I’ve resolved to practice the discipline of not having to have the last word.” He was exercising self-disciplined wisdom: “A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted” (Prv 12:16 NLT).

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (Jas 1:10). “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue . . . your religion is worthless” (Jas 1:26 NLT).

Don’t shout. Rain, not thunder, grows flowers.

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