A Soft Answer vs. A Harsh Word

Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

There is a difference between simple and easy.  Example: running a marathon is simple.  All you have to do is run for 26.2 miles.  However, no one would classify a marathon as easy.  The process of running for that long is difficult.

Utilizing the life tool in the above verse is the same way.  Using a soft answer to deal with social situations is simple, dealing calmly with the facts produces better outcomes than lashing out in anger.  However, using a harsh word is easy. Pursuing a course to exact some toll out of an offending party is natural and requires far less effort than using a soft answer.

God’s plan of a soft answer requires a humility that is simple, but definitely not easy.

Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.

A soft answer depends so much on attitude and vocal inflection.  You might be really upset.  A calm, even response is necessary.  You might think the other person’s actions or words are irrational, irritating, wrong, or stupid.  Avoiding a cynical or arrogant attitude or vocal tone is necessary to the other person hearing what you’re saying.

Proverbs 26:4,5 – Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

The other person might be upset and out of line; rash and unfair.  A soft answer doesn’t respond in kind, but gives a calm response, even if you know you ultimately are right, have the correct position, have been wronged, been treated unfairly, are crying inside, can’t believe what’s happening, or don’t understand why the other person is doing what they’re doing.

The soft answer gives the other person a chance to de-emotionalize the situation and come to a place where facts and emotions can be discussed in a reasonable place.  It shows a respect for the other person, as well as yourself, and allows a more mature discussion to happen.

There’s no way that a soft answer is easy, but I love the promise in the verse: peace is the outcome and a negative outcome can be averted.  The pain of pursuing the right course results in a peace not obtainable without the effort.

Luke 8:17 – For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

Ultimately we can trust God with the situation.  If a person won’t discuss a situation reasonably, and you don’t know if you will be perceived fairly, the promise in the last verse is powerful.  God will reveal hidden things.

Let’s ask God for strength, maturity, and peace to be able to give a soft answer in all situations so that we can play our part to have the best possible outcomes.

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