8/22 Proverbs 15:1

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

When we are verbally attacked, when the volume of another's voice rises, we can easily ride the wave of anger by raising our own voice. The volley of words is like rocks thrown back and forth trying to defeat the other person. The intensity only seems to increase. Solomon is telling us that we can stop it right at the beginning.

My wife is gifted at this way of diffusing tension. When we had a business and someone came in to complain about a product, the product was usually just fine. It was the user that had the problem. If I pointed that out, it would only make them angrier. They would think we were trying to cheat them. But when my wife sympathized with the customer's problems, walked them through the use of the product, showed them how it was to be used, and then gave them the option of trying it again or getting their money back, they would take the product with appreciation and leave with a smile on their faces.

Sometimes the attacks can be quite personal. Even if we are not in the wrong, we can apologize for any misunderstandings and try to understand what upset other people (Proverbs 18:2). Raising your voice just increases the likelihood that they will raise theirs. A calm and reasoned response will usually calm them down. The humble soul will win the day by diffusing the anger. The prideful person may think they have won the argument and gotten satisfaction. That's ok. The peacemakers have just shown themselves to be children of God.

Consider: If you have a short fuse, remember that when anger takes over you have already lost. The Spirit gives us the fruit of self-control. Exercise it!