Proverbs 18:19 “An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.”
Sometimes we think that we can win an argument by using harsh words, yet in reality we are only causing our enemies to become more entrenched. How should we manage our differences with others?
Rather than being quarrelsome and argumentative, Solomon encourages us to be gentle.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
To the brawler, gentleness might appear to be a sign of weakness, but in reality it is a sign of strength. We read also from the book of Proverbs, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Proverbs 16:32) Again we read from Solomon’s wisdom, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” (Proverbs 29:11) Rather than arguing back with angry people, we should learn to hold our peace and speak kind words.
The Bible tells the story of a time when David became very angry with a foolish man named Nabal. In a moment of anger, David ordered his men to strap on their swords and prepare for battle. But then a wise woman named Abigail said these words to David.
1 Samuel 25:26 “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is… 30 When the Lord has done all He promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance.”
Abigail gave David some very wise counsel. “One day” she said, “when God has finally made you the king of Israel, don’t let a moment of careless rage be a blemish on your record. Don’t go through life with a guilty conscience for having done something foolish. Instead, let God deal with your enemies.”
It’s hard sometimes to hold our peace when it seems like others are attacking us. The first thoughts that come into our minds is to somehow hit them back. Yet harsh words do more harm than good. It is the gentle answer that dispels their anger and turns away their wrath.