Most likely, we have all been to that point. That point where you know that a heated situation could get out of control if someone says or does the wrong thing. It’s the point where someone gets slapped with a scathing insult (or slapped across the face) and everyone holds their breath to see what will happen next. Will they start hurling insults back at their foe left and right? Or will they start hurling left and right hooks instead? This is a situation that many of us probably find ourselves in every now and again. When someone insults you or slaps you across the face, what is your reaction? In all honesty, it is probably not going to be a reaction that is borne out of love and compassion.
The book of Proverbs gives us a very challenging lesson on this sort of thing. Proverbs 15:1 reads, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I imagine that there are things more difficult than responding to an insult with soft, kind words — but none seem to come to mind. While we might not particularly enjoy the application of this Scripture, certainly we would all agree that it holds true! The absolute worst thing to do in an already heated situation is to continue spouting out harsh words! Harsh words can do nothing but stir up anger, grief, and discouragement. No argument has ever been resolved peacefully through the destructive avenue of harsh, angry words.
The only way to begin diffusing a potentially explosive situation is to respond with “a soft answer.” This is an answer free from harsh words. This is an answer that follows Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” It is an answer that is given in the spirit of Matthew 5:39, “But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” It is an answer borne out of humility and love. It is the answer that we should always give. Let us all try to live up to this high standard set by Jesus Christ Himself.