“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
We can learn a lot from this little verse in our day and age. In the era of social media, everyone has an opinion (and a response) to everything. The anonymity of a keyboard and a screen has numbed us to the empathy of human interaction. It’s easy to use harsh words and stir up anger. In fact, many even choose their words intentionally to do so.
It’s important for us as Christians to remember that our job is to be peacemakers. Sure, the message of Christ won’t always go over well with everyone, and many will reject it angrily. That’s ok, and it’s to be expected. What we must not do is respond harshly or angrily ourselves. To do so justifies their anger, it escalates the situation, and it further removes the conversation from God. At all times, our goal must be peace. We speak in such a way that does not bring wrath and anger but brings peace. We don’t divide and tear down, we use words that unite and bind us together.
We all undoubtedly will find ourselves in tense situations and heated conversations. It can be hard not to get angry, especially about subjects you may be passionate about. In those moments, I encourage you to think of Jesus. How often did Jesus face people who spoke down to him, who called him possessed, insane, or a liar? How often did people misunderstand what he was trying to tell them? How many people rejected him and his message? The number is too many to count. But how many times did he respond with harsh language and anger? None that come to my mind.
Help me to be patient. Help me to always value empathy and extend it to others freely. Lord, give me the words in my times of frustration and anger so that I may not tear down, but build up. Let me not stir up wrath, but instead make peace.
In Jesus’ Name,