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Monday, July 8, 2019

Choose Gentleness, Not Defensiveness

In review of Proverbs 15:1 it reminds me that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NIV).

Today’s verse is the first verse Proverbs 15. It tells me that a gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one only stirs it up.

It's hard to argue in a whisper. It is equally hard to argue with someone who insists on answering softly or gently.  On the other hand, a rising voice and harsh words almost always trigger an angry response. To turn away wrath and seek peace, choose quiet, gentle words.

As humans we have a tendency to mimic other people’s emotions, especially if we’re sitting right across the table from them? The reason we do this is because of mirror neurons in our brains that allow us to sympathize and to mirror what other people feel.

For instance, if somebody gets angry with me, I get angry back. If somebody is really miserable and I hang around that person long enough, I get miserable, too.

In the same way, when people raise their voice against me, I will usually raise my voice back. Then they raise their voice higher. Then I raise my voice higher. Then pretty soon things have escalated, and emotions are out of control.

The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).

A tip that will save a lot of heartaches and conflicts is when people raise their voice, I should lower mine. This is called strength under control.

Gentleness defuses conflict. It de-escalates anger.

Here’s an another verse I’m going to need, probably even today or this week. Ecclesiastes 10:4 says, “If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes” (NLT).

When I get ripped into or spoken to loudly in anger, I need to realize it may not have anything to do with me. Instead of getting defensive, practice gentleness. Let my gentle answer disarm the other person and defuse the situation.

In summary, a gentle answer will quiet anger, whereas a harsh one will only stir it up. To turn away wrath and seek peace, choose quiet, gentle words. When people raise their voice, I should lower mine. This is practicing strength under control. Gentleness on my part will defuse conflict. Also, I need to realize it may not have anything to do with me. Instead of getting defensive, practice gentleness, I need to let my gentle answer disarm the other person or situation. 

Given the current project and work tasks in front of me and my team, this is a timely piece of advice. I’m sure Father you are reminding me because I will need it. I pray for your Holy Spirit to help remind me of this today and this week. In addition Father I pray for wisdom and guidance in my task, my leadership and my interaction with others. I pray these things in your Son Jesus name amen.

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