Sunday, October 6, 2019

Our Words as an Instrument of Gentleness

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

The United States had just invaded Iraq, and we were Americans living in a Muslim country. The national news was not kind, nor was it censored. Images of children, victims of bombs, flashed daily across television screens, along with a call to defeat the infidel. 

This particular day I was standing at the local shop in my neighborhood, waiting in line to buy milk. An old woman wearing a niqab, the veil that covers the lower half of the face, drew near. When she saw me, she began to curse. Seeking to publicly shame me, she shouted for all to hear, “This American is not welcome here. She and her kind are evil.” The male shop owner, who knew me and my family, watched me to see what my reaction would be.

In a rare moment of courage, I placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and softly said a traditional Arabic blessing to her, “May God forgive, mother.”

Her eyes grew wide as I continued, “The Messiah’s heart is broken for the nations at war. May God bring peace to my family and yours.”

The little cluster of people around the shop window all started talking at once.

“See, mother, she is a woman of faith!”

“Amen! God is merciful to all nations!”

She placed her wrinkled hand on my back and patted me, gently. The vitriol that spewed only moments before was gone.

A gentle answer had not only turned away wrath, but it had also opened the door to a conversation about faith.

There is much angry shouting in our culture today. The news is not kind, nor are most of the voices demanding to be heard. A gentle answer is counterintuitive, unnatural. The writer of Proverbs 15:1 understood that the natural response to painful words is anger. Harsh words stir up anger. Gentle ones disarm it.

As writers, we have the honor and privilege of wielding gentle words that have the power to disarm anger and rage. It helps greatly to spend regular time in God’s Word. The next time we encounter wrath, His words will come to mind, instructing us how to respond. It wasn’t natural for me to touch a stranger in public, nor to address someone shouting curses at me. A gentle answer turns away wrath rose to my mind and my next step was clear.

It takes self-control and courage to be gentle. But the result is a more peaceful world and open doors to share about our Messiah Jesus.

Lord, use me and my words as instruments of your gentleness in an angry world. Amen.

Our words as an instrument of gentleness - @AudreyCFrank on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Her upcoming book, Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World, is an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available for pre-order now at

You can also find Audrey at, as well as on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Well said Ms. Audrey. What a wonderful, and gentle, reminder of who we are supposed to be serving. Your words were both convicting and consoling this morning; and I thank God for you this day. I too succumb to the "Whoever is loudest wins" mindset; but that is not what Christ taught us. Even the smallest pebble makes many ripples. And ripples are much better than waves. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. The power of kindness and mutual understanding in action. The world needs more gentleness.
    Excellent article, Audrey.

  3. Thank you for your powerful reminder, Audrey.

  4. Thank you for the reminder that our words can wound and stir up strife or they can witness and offer peace. Loved your real-life example.