Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
As king, Solomon was tasked with keeping the peace. Here he tells how peace may be kept and our role in keeping it. If anger is like the beginning of a raging storm, a soft answer can push it away like soft winds that blow the storm clouds elsewhere. Answer gently to those who become angry and seek to reason with them. There is nothing that stirs up anger like name calling, insults, and foul words. And when someone inflames another, it does nothing more than return the fire and creates a flame that is more furious between both parties.
As a teen, my son umpired youth baseball games to earn money during the summer. I enjoyed watching the games he umpired so I would go and sit with the parents in the stands. It was interesting listening to their complaints about the coaches and umpires. It was especially interesting when you know one of the umpires is your son. I remember one game where a play resulted in a player being forced out. The parents were questioning the call, but my son walked over and gently explained the rule book to everyone as to why the boy was called out. Later on in the game what looked like a very similar play for the opposing team left the player safe on the base. You could hear the dissention among the parents of the other team. They were arguing over why the player was forced out in one situation, but in this similar situation the other team remained safe on base. My son sensing the dissention quietly walked over to the fence and said, “I know everyone might think the play you just saw was the same as the one that occurred earlier where I called the player out. And you are probably wondering why this instance is different. The player that caught the ball this time was slightly behind the base line so it was not considered an infield catch. In the case of the first player who was called out the catch was made slightly within the baselines of the field.” Then my son walked back to his position and resumed the game. The crowd now understanding the ruling quieted down and started complimenting my son for taking the time to explain things to everyone. My son’s gentle words to the parents deflected the anger they were feeling and helped them to understand the situation. In fact it brought respect to my son and for the remainder of the game the parents and coaches did not question his calls. If we all could remember a gentle answer deflects anger there would probably be a lot less arguments in this world.