A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
When you are in a dispute and your frustration is rising, when you feel hurt and angry and you want to lash out, the Bible has a simple, practical principle. Be gentle. Use soft words. A soft tone. Gentle gestures. For the Bible teaches us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
You probably know what that’s like. Most of us have responded with harsh words. Some of us have done that more often than we care to admit. Harsh words don’t help things, do they? They stir up anger. Whether you are right or wrong, or some mixture of both, harsh words don’t help the conflict.
It’s just the way life works. It’s not just what we say but how we say it.
Perhaps this principle applies to marriage more than anywhere else. When you live with someone and seek to merge two lives into one, there will be friction. There will be conflict. Oh, how valuable Proverbs 15:1 can be for conflict in marriage. Every couple ought to adopt this verse as a firm rule of thumb for conflict. We don’t rant and rave. We don’t shout and yell. We don’t call names. We don’t speak harshly. We obey God. We speak softly. It doesn’t matter if my mom yelled or if my dad yelled. We don’t yell. We obey God. For a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Marriage may be the prime application, but the Proverbs 15:1 principle applies to all of life. When you’re upset at your high schooler, or your grade schooler, or your preschooler: Soft! When you are in a meeting at work and you feel so disrespected and insulted: Soft! When a careless, selfish driver cuts you off on the freeway: Soft! When the clerk is a bit rude to you: Soft!
In a thousand situations, in all of life, practice the Proverbs 15:1 principle. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Not by trying hard, but by the power of the Spirit, make this the way you live your life.