“A gentle answer quietens anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.”
I am a peacemaker with my words.
When was the last time someone tried to convince you of something? Or in some way tried to change your mind or modify your beliefs? What kinds of words did they use? Were they encouraging and humble? Or were they abrasive and harsh? And how did you respond to that person and their words?
You may not believe me, but it’s easier to change someone’s mind or convince them of something when you use gentle words. As humans, we need a gentle touch.
How did you feel the last time someone spoke harshly with you? I always become defensive and my guards go up. I get ready to “fight back” and my temper flares. But when someone speaks gently to me, I’m always calm and peaceful and much more receptive to what it is they are saying.
And so, we should each strive to speak gentle and kind words to one another. We should always be aware of not only the language we use, but also the tone of our voices. Because you can speak beautiful words, but if they’re laced with a nasty tone or attitude, they mean nothing and are simply empty words.
It takes two people to argue. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, send a quick prayer up to the Lord. Don’t be goaded into responding immediately. Don’t be quick to respond. Think about your words first.
In John, chapter 8, Jesus was goaded into answering a trick question. The Pharisees wanted to trap him and brought an adulterous woman into the temple, asking him if she should be stoned to death. Jesus took his time answering them. He bent down, played in the sand, and then delivered the well-known ‘Let he wo is without sin cast the first stone.’ It would have been easy for Jesus not only in that one situation but in all situations throughout the New Testament to have responded in anger. He could have cursed the sinners and those who tested his faith in the Father. But he didn’t. He continued to use gentle words.
Jesus is the perfect example of a peacemaker. Using gentle words, we too can end arguments before they even begin and help heal hurting hearts. It takes great discipline to remain calm when provoked. When faced with a confrontation, don’t fight fire with fire. Be strong and humble and respond with gentle words, love and humility.
Imagine what the world would be like if we all spoke to one another with just a little more gentleness? How many conflicts and acts of aggression would simply dissolve. You can start small today. When speaking to your spouse or siblings. Your coworkers and boss. Put your pride, ego and those fighting words aside and choose to respond to all situations (confrontational or not) with gentleness.