“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
I remember one summer when I was on the men staff at Greystone, I got into a shouting match with a fellow men staff member. Basically, we were both tired from a long summer and he said something hurtful to me in the cabin.
Instead of answering him in a kind way, I shouted back at him and soon we were yelling at each other and everyone in the cabin heard us fighting. We did not speak to each other for the rest of the day and we were both embarrassed by what we had done in front of our friends.
The book of Proverbs in the Bible is very important because it is filled with practical wisdom for our lives. In this specific proverb, we are told to respond to others’ anger with love and patience.
Jesus said a similar thing in the Sermon on the Mount when he said “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” It’s easy to get caught up in a shouting match when you are angry because deep down you want the other person to feel hurt or embarrassed because that’s how they made you feel.
This parable is so helpful because it tells us to respond to people in love. Angry shouting only leads to more angry shouting.
When you feel tempted to answer back in a harsh way, pray and ask Jesus to help you respond to the other person in love and with grace. Ask Jesus to remind you of just how patient He has been with you and then ask Him to help you show that same patience to the other person.
Some of the telltale signs that God is working in your heart include- love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, and self control. Note, being right all the time is not on that list.