Choose Gentleness, Not Defensiveness
By Rick Warren
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
Have you noticed that human beings have a tendency to mimic the emotions of people across from them? The reason we do this is because of mirror neurons in our brains. They allow us to sympathize and also to mirror what other people feel.
For instance, if someone gets angry with you, you get angry back. If somebody is really sad and you hang around that person long enough, you start to get sad.
In the same way, when people raise their voice against you, you usually raise your voice back. Then they raise their voice higher. Then you raise your voice higher. Then pretty soon it’s escalated, and your emotions are out of control.
But the Bible says you actually can choose how you respond: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).
Let me give you a little tip that will save you a lot of heartache and conflict in your life: When other people raise their voices, lower yours—in your marriage, in your parenting, in your friendships, and at work. That’s called strength under control.
Gentleness defuses conflict. It deescalates anger.
Here’s a good verse you’re going to need someday—maybe even this week. Ecclesiastes 10:4 says, “If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes” (NLT).
When your boss tears into you or your spouse raises his or her voice in anger, realize it may not have anything to do with you. Instead of getting defensive, practice gentleness. Let your gentle answer disarm the other person and defuse the situation.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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