Does a Soft Answer Turn Away Wrath?
Have you ever responded to someone in a way that felt great in the moment but eventually embarrassed you? Perhaps you wished you had handled it differently? Sometimes this seems like a never-ending cycle, but it doesn’t have to be.
There is a Better Way
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).
I must admit that I have spent plenty of time saying just the right thing to increase the wrath from others. Fortunately, I have also come to see the benefits of not doing so.
Have you seen how a timely gentle response can completely defuse a situation? It can quickly calm down a raging person and can completely shift the atmosphere in an entire room.
There is a spirit of peace that comes with a controlled response. Much more than what our eyes alone can see.
To be clear, I am not talking about letting people walk all over us. I am talking about an assertive, firm and calm response. One that is not solely driven by uncontrolled emotions.
A Necessary Disclaimer
Understanding and using this concept biblically doesn’t mean that a harsh or dramatic response is never appropriate. But it is a reminder that most often a calm, calculated, assertive response is exactly what is needed.
Jesus often gave what seemed to be harsh responses to people, especially the religious leaders at the time. But He was always speaking to what was in their heart. He never lost His cool or had any regret over how He handled Himself.
The Every Day Reality
We may think that we don’t have a choice in how we react, but when patterns show up in our lives, we make a choice whether to let them continue or to deal with them.
I have handled some situations very well and some not so well. As I reflected on each interaction and why they had different results, I could see that how it went often had more to do with me and my own heart than it did with the other person.
God loves you. And God loves the people he puts in front of you. Think about it: you have an opportunity to be different in those moments. Of course, there is the importance of remaining professional, but there is more to it. You are representing Christ.
This doesn’t mean we give a robotic response, but it means we should always have a response that we are still proud of an hour later.
We Need A Helper
It might seem impossible to do in your own strength. If you believe that, you are right.
We need God’s Holy Spirit to live through us to respond in this way. Our will power has a limit, but the power that Jesus had on earth and that we have in us today has no limit.
If we love people, we need to seek to see them the way God sees them. We need to separate the way they act from who they are and how much they matter.
Many times we have a choice to make in how we respond. Does anything come to mind for you? How can you ask God to get engaged and rely on His strength, so you can always be ready to make the right choice?