In a world where angry memes and gotcha retorts have taken center stage in our social discourse, we have been offered another option, an option that can turn away wrath and anger. That option is a gentle answer.
NASA has launched what is called the DART probe (Double Asteroid Redirection Test). The probe’s mission is to intercept Earth-impacting asteroids and redirect their civilization-ending trajectory with our planet. Recently, one of these large asteroids passed close by Earth detected only a month before its arrival. Space is a dangerous place.
Action movies have depicted plotlines that send rockets into space equipped with nuclear bombs to blow up an approaching asteroid. While that kind of movie script might offer a dramatic cinematic effect, such an impact would create a multitude of smaller yet still fatal asteroid fragments that would remain on a collision course with Earth. A wiser course of action is to employ DART’s technology called “kinetic deflection.” This form of deflection is a course-altering nudge that moves an asteroid offline just enough to deflect it from impact with Earth.
Scripture tells us “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (Proverbs 15:1). When our emotions are running in high gear and we want to explode an emotional nuclear blast to either declare our position or end a discussion, we will do more damage to our relationships and our reputation as a follower of Christ than offering a Spirit-led deflection.
Just like an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, so it is with our undisciplined responses to each other. We can end a relationship or fracture a local church in our harshness. A gentle answer offered in an attempt to alter the course of an angry conversation can be just enough deflection to push a work of darkness off course and cause it to pass us by and die somewhere out in the abyss of an evil possibility.