Scripture: Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word
stirs up anger.”
Devotional: I grew up in a household where harsh words were commonplace. Needless to say, there was constant conflict and chaos, and relationships were continually strained. Eventually, it led to a broken home.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to value the wisdom that Proverbs 15:1 shares, and I’ve found it to be continually true. My husband is a master at a gentle response. There are times that a harsh word or tone comes tumbling from my mouth, and rather than matching my harshness, he gently and kindly responds. As a result, my harshness is de-escalated, and frankly, I’m left a little embarrassed at my lack of self-control.
On the flip side, I’ve seen far too often how harsh word volleys can escalate a simple conflict into a knock-down drag-out fight – not the things healthy marriages are made of.
Proverbs 21:23 in the New Living Translation says, “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” That’s pretty good advice when it comes to harsh responses. If we want to have productive conflict resolution in our relationships, we must learn to exchange harsh words for kinder and gentler ones.
- How would you categorize how you typically respond to your spouse? If you struggle with harshness, what steps might you take toward a gentler response?