On 28 July 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia because of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. Within 90 days, other European countries had taken sides to honour their military alliances. This single event turned into World War I, one of the most terrible military conflicts of modern time.

It doesn’t take much to cause ‘war’ in our relationships or families either. Sometimes it only needs a few unkind words. James wrote, “See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (James 3:5). A key to avoiding verbal conflict is found in Proverbs: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1).

A small comment can start a large fight. When we, by God’s grace, choose not to react with angry words, we honour Jesus our Saviour. When He was abused and insulted, He fulfilled these words of Isaiah: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth” (Isa. 53:7).

Proverbs urges us to speak the truth and seek peace through our words. “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, . . . and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (15:4,23).

Lord, make me a person of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me show kindness.


David C. McCasland


Our Daily Bread