June 10, 2024


Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.


Proverbs 15:1 teaches us the power and wisdom of responding with gentleness, even in the face of anger or conflict. The verse contrasts two approaches: giving a soft answer, which turns away wrath, versus speaking a harsh word, which only stirs up more anger. The 'soft answer' speaks of a response that is gentle, measured and calm. It avoids inflammatory or argumentative language. This type of reply has the power to de-escalate tense situations and defuse anger. It can stop a conflict from spiraling out of control. On the other hand, the 'harsh word' represents an aggressive, biting response. It may feel natural to meet anger with anger, hostility with hostility. But the proverb warns that this approach will backfire. Harsh words only provoke the other person and make a bad situation worse. They pour fuel on the fire. This proverb encourages us to be wise in how we use our words, especially when dealing with someone who is upset. It challenges us to stay calm, speak graciously, and look for ways to bring peace rather than further strife. Responding with gentleness is not weakness; rather it is tremendous strength and self-control. The Bible commends gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and part of godly wisdom (James 3:17). Jesus himself, even when provoked and mistreated, did not retaliate with angry words but entrusted himself to God (1 Peter 2:23). He is our ultimate example of responding to hostility with grace. In our relationships and interactions with others, we will surely face anger and conflict at times. Proverbs 15:1 gives us wise counsel for those moments. With God's help, may we learn to answer softly, with gentleness and restraint. May our words be agents of peace and understanding, not destruction. As we do, we will reflect Christ and point others to the wisdom of His ways.


Gentleness is a powerful yet often undervalued virtue. In a world that often celebrates assertiveness, quick comebacks, and having the last word, gentleness can seem weak or passive. But the Bible consistently commends gentleness as the way of wisdom and the path of Christ. Proverbs 15:1 illustrates the impact that gentleness can have, particularly in handling tense or hostile situations. When someone comes to us in anger, our natural reflex is often to defend ourselves or lash back. But the proverb teaches that a soft answer is actually more effective. Responding calmly and kindly can defuse the other person's anger and prevent the situation from escalating. This does not mean we avoid hard topics or never confront sin. But it does mean we speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We season our words with grace (Colossians 4:6). We show patience and humility even when disagreeing. Gentleness is an expression of the Spirit's work in our lives (Galatians 5:23). It flows from a heart submitted to God. When we are secure in His love and entrust ourselves to Him, we are less prone to be reactive or easily offended. We can face criticism or attacks with calmness, grace and quiet strength. Jesus is our perfect example of gentleness. He had every right to harshly rebuke His accusers and put them in their place. But instead, 'When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.' (1 Peter 2:23) Even in His immense power, Jesus was immensely gentle. As we abide in Jesus, we can grow in reflecting His gentleness. Through the Spirit, we can develop the habit of soft answers and gracious speech. We can learn to be peacemakers, approaching conflict with humility and wisdom rather than harshness. This gentleness will serve us well in every area of life. It will nurture our marriages and family relationships. It will make us more effective in ministry and sharing the gospel. It will adorn our character with the beauty of Christ. Of course, there may still be times when others respond to us with anger, even when we speak gently. Gentleness is not a magic formula to avoid all conflict. But it is always the right path. It keeps our own hearts in check and gives the other person space to soften. Most of all, it honors the Lord. May God's Spirit fill us afresh, that we may be people of gentle answers and gracious words. May we reflect the gentleness of Christ in us, and so point a harsh world to the wisdom and beauty of His ways.


Gracious God, Thank You for the wisdom of Your Word, which teaches us the power of a soft answer. Thank You for the example of gentleness we see in Jesus. He entrusted Himself to You and responded to cruelty with compassion. Forgive us for the many times we are quick to speak harsh words and slow to extend grace. Lord, we ask that You would do a transforming work in our hearts. Help us to lay aside the pride, selfishness and insecurity that make us reactive and easily offended. Fill us with Your Spirit, that we may bear the fruit of gentleness. Give us self-control to hold our tongues and respond wisely. Make us people of gentle answers and gracious speech. May we bring Your peace and wisdom into tense situations. May we show humility and kindness even when treated wrongly. Give us discernment to know when to speak and when to stay silent. Most of all, we pray that our gentleness would point others to Jesus. May they see His character and wisdom reflected in us. Use our gentle words and actions to soften hearts and draw people to Yourself. Thank You that as we trust in You, You will help us grow in the grace of gentleness. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Gentle words, a soothing balm - Calming the storm, restoring calm.

Gentle words, a soothing balm -
Calming the storm, restoring calm.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.