Meeting Anger with Gentleness
Read Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
How do you typically respond when someone approaches you in anger?
“Pouring gasoline on a fire” is one expression that comes to mind when we meet anger with even more anger. It can be difficult to keep our cool when we are confronted by someone who is heated up over an issue, especially if their anger is directed at us! It feels natural to get defensive and fight back. But is that the best way to deal with the problem?
King Solomon would say no. His advice in this proverb is to respond to anger with gentleness. Why? It turns away wrath. Many times, if an angry person is met with soft words and patience instead of retaliation, it diffuses the situation.
Jesus also taught that retaliation was not the way to handle anger. In Matthew 5:9, He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Then, in Matthew 5:21-28, Jesus says that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister is subject to judgment. He went on to stress the importance of reconciling your differences with others and settling disputes. These passages of Scripture demonstrate the high priority that Jesus placed on restored relationships and peace between His followers.
The next time you are approached by a brother or sister in Christ who is angry, try responding with gentleness. Keep your voice calm and even. Seek to make peace. Chances are that your peaceful reaction will disarm them and have a calming effect so you can cooperate with each other on finding a solution to the issue.
Friends, it’s easy to think of a smart retort and fire back when fired upon. But Scripture shows us another way-meeting anger with gentleness. Let’s demonstrate the Spirit’s work in our hearts by responding with gentleness, patience, and self-control.
Jesus, may the fruit of Your Holy Spirit be evident in my response to anger. Please give me the patience, gentleness, and self-control I need to glorify You. Amen.