A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
12 A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
16 Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
19 The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
25 The Lord will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.
31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
How do you respond when harshly criticized or instructed by overly controlling people? I know that my natural tendency is to get defensive, and maybe even get a bit angry, and respond with hard logic. I know when I am right and can give good reasons for what I did and how I did it. Angry responses break out easily. Too often we just accept this as a normal part of life.
By my count, Proverbs 15 has well over a dozen suggestions dealing with how best to respond to instructions. Then there are at least a dozen more proverbs contrasting the behavior and actions of the wicked/foolish/proud and greedy compared to the righteous/good and wise. Solomon is clear that happiness or heartache depend on our attitude and how we choose to speak and act. As I think about it, my words and attitudes directly register the extent of my relationship to Jesus.
The tongue can strip away beauty, mangle, and destroy. Or it can adorn, sooth, and heal. Ellen White recognized this: “Continual censure blights and darkens the life of anyone.” 4 T 65 And again, “When fathers and mothers are converted, there will be a thorough conversion of their principles of management. Their thoughts will be converted; their tongues will be converted.” AH 436
“Lord, my rock and my redeemer, may the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You today. Amen.”
David A. Steen