How many times have I returned a harsh communication with a harsh answer, I wonder? How often have I responded in like kind when someone snapped at me or made biting comments towards me? What is the number of times that I've repaid spiteful conversation with spite, or gave a person as good as the negative attitude that they gave to me?
If you've ever in your life been an average person, you too would not be able to count the number of times that you responded in the way that an angry person responded to you.
This bad habit, however, can be converted. Learning to replace this flesh-based, useless behavior with useful, spirit-filled responses is the key. We can learn the value of and utilize the spiritual tool of replying to wrath with soft words. What usually happens when we react to strife-laden attitudes? We usually experience more of it, from the person and within ourselves. The opposite of this, says a quiet little scripture in Proverbs, is "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
I don't know what led me to consider this scripture early this morning. In doing so, I found one answer as to why this principle works: We often possess the insight or knowledge needed to respond to a stressful remark with an soft answer. When we do, our answer shows the person that we care about him/her.
Because we are able to perceive something about the person or the situation, we are able to address that in our response.
Sometimes the person knows that we have spoken to something unsaid, sometimes not. It's similar to looking beyond the outward appearance into the spiritual realm. There is often something else behind the words that are being said and the harsh manner. When we respond in like kind though, it shows that at that moment we are self-centered, or centered in our flesh, rather than in our reborn spirit.
One reason that we often give as good as we get, rather then utilizing a soft answer, is because spiritual evil influence can target our flesh and hit it's mark. Evil influence, whether towards someone else or towards ourselves, cannot target our reborn spirit. It hurts when someone yells, or snaps, or bites our heads off. It is not fair when someone speaks to us in a disrespectful manner, or treats us like we are unimportant. It can be damaging to our self-image, self-worth and self-esteem to be talked to with disdain, disregard and a lack of compassion. All of this warfare takes place in the flesh.
Recognizing these facts, however, and continuing to react in kind will not improve our ability to build our spiritual self-image, self-worth or self-esteem.
Reacting in kind harms our ability to improve. It accomplishes little, if anything. This is because our fiery, flesh-based responses rarely address real issues or change circumstances. When we understand this truth, we are able to allow our responses to be transformed.
When we see value in becoming humble enough to ignore verbal slights and attacks, and move beyond them in that moment, our responses will change. Often, it takes allowing what you know about the person, and maybe a situation, to rise to the surface of your consciousness at that moment. It takes peering into the response and the person, which is the same as moving beyond self. But how in the world can I do all of this in the short space of time when I am attacked, you ask?
All of this can be done in a split second, just as a biting response can be formed and made in a millisecond.
In order to reply with a soft answer, we may have to sometimes appear as if we are not fighting for our rights. When we allow that and use the soft answer, often the anger, stress, annoyance, snippishness and fear that motivated the person is disabled and disarmed. In that moment, we will find the person responding with a lot less malice than before, if not without any.
Walking in the spirit can become habitual, just as reacting in the flesh has been. We can re-learn how to respond with soft words, and enjoy more peaceful communication, and peace within. When we receive and understand valuable truths, we change the way that we think. When we change the way that we think, our behavior follows suit.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
(Proverbs 15:7 KJV)
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; Not so with the heart of fools.
(Proverbs 15:7 WEB)
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
(Proverbs 15:1 KJV)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
(Proverbs 15:1 WEB)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,....
(Romans 12:2 KJV)
And be not conformed to this world: but be reformed in the newness of your mind,....
(Romans 12:2 DR)
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Scripture Taken From Bible Study Tools: http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=wrath&c=pr&t=kjv&ps=10&s=Bibles