Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
15 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
This proverb is making a comparison between a soft answer that is tender, soft and delicate versus a harsh answer that is painful, hurtful and offensive. The soft answer turns away wrath, while the harsh word stirs up anger among each other. As king Solomon kept his mind on peace and provided simple lessons to keep it.
Oswald Chambers once wrote - A man who is continually criticized becomes good for nothing, the effect of criticism knocks all the gumption and power out of him.
When a person is continuously beat down with painful, hurtful and offensive words they tend to coward at anything said to them for fear of more hurt and more pain. They have been through battles many times and they realize the outcome is always the same. So they turn inside to themselves, saying nothing and feeling nothing.
There are others though that respond to harsh statements and give back just as strongly as the manner in which they received. Most often it becomes a battle of words that can even turn into a physical fight.
When someone attacks with harsh words, stop for a moment and thing about the person, think about the conditions and think about anything that may have been a trigger. Maybe they are tired and frustrated themselves and just want to vent their frustration on someone else. Maybe it�s time to listen instead of react.
If there was an accidental mistake or a bad choice of words, maybe a simple �I apologize� would cure the situation. There are some who may say, �Why should I apologize, I did nothing wrong.� However a few kind and soft words may be all that is needed to calm an argument. There is no harm in an apology and it can relieve tensions quickly.
If the words were really hurtful and damaging to you; instead of striking back with your own hateful and angry words, take a moment and process your feelings. Maybe you could say something as simple as, �I feel really hurt right now about what was just said, because I was making my best attempt to do something nice and it just seemed to turn out all wrong.� Notice how the person expresses their feelings without actually making an accusation. Most often when someone connects to another�s feelings they sympathize with them and soften their words and may even apologize.
Follow the words of the Apostle James, �let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.�