A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
I recently saw a video of a youth baseball game where two parents from opposing teams got into what started out as a screaming match but then quickly turned into a bleacher-emptying brawl. What started out as harsh words quickly escalated into a full-blown street fight! Now most likely you haven’t been involved in a brawl at the ballpark lately, but maybe, just maybe, you were tired one day and spoke sharply to your spouse and it turned into a full-fledged argument; or maybe you unfairly criticized a co-worker causing them to develop bitterness and resentment toward you; or perhaps you screamed at your child causing them to get mad and kick the cat on the way to their room. We have all spoken harsh words to others and have most likely suffered negative consequences as a result. The writer of Proverbs gives us a very simple solution to this problem. He says to reply with “a soft answer”. When we respond or interact with others, we should always do so with gentleness, kindness and respect regardless of how they are speaking to us. Most of the time, doing this will deescalate the situation and bring about the desired results. So next time someone lashes out at you or speaks to you unkindly, try responding to them with gentleness and kindness. Who knows? They may be having a bad day and your gentleness and kindness could be just what they need!