A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath

1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)

I find this verse very useful when it comes with dealing with people. Like it or not, all of us have to deal with people when we work. Even if you are working with a computer on internet connection, there are still people at the other end of your internet.

Most of the time, we cannot choose what type of people we want to deal with. There are nasty people in this world. Let me give you an example. Suppose you are a cashier in a supermarket and 1% of your customers are jerks. If you serve 1,000 customers a day, then you would have faced the wrath of 10 jerks everyday. What are you going to do? Quit your job and starve? No, you move on.

This is what we must do when we face angry people who just want to be jerks. Move on. We must not allow ourselves to sink into hatred. Hate is bad for its practitioner but it has no effect on the target. In other words, when you hate someone, you will only harm yourself and not the person you hate.

There is one fact about jerks. They are looking for a fight. They shout at you in hope that you will shout back. They are feeding on your anger. This means the only way to overcome them is to starve them of the energy they need. Do not shout back. Do not repay evil for evil. Do good to those who did evil.

This is what the above verse means. Soft answers turn away wrath. When you give soft answers instead of harsh words, you are effectively weakening the position of the jerks. They need to feed your anger to keep sustain theirs. As long as you refuse to co-operate, they will find it very tiring to maintain their anger. Soon, they will have to give way. You will win.

This is God’s formula to deal with jerks.

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2 Responses to “A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath”

  1. SK Tan Says:

    Right Speech
    – An essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

    For many of us, right speech is the most difficult of the precepts to honor. Yet practicing right speech is fundamental both to helping us become trustworthy individuals and to helping us gain mastery over the mind. So choose your words – and your motives for speaking – with care.
    Right speech, explained in negative terms, means avoiding four types of harmful speech: lies (words spoken with the intent of misrepresenting the truth); divisive speech (spoken with the intent of creating rifts between people); harsh speech (spoken with the intent of hurting another person’s feelings); and idle chatter (spoken with no purposeful intent at all).
    In positive terms, right speech means speaking in ways that are trustworthy, harmonious, comforting, and worth taking to heart. When you make a practice of these positive forms of right speech, your words become a gift to others. In response, other people will start listening more to what you say, and will be more likely to respond in kind. This gives you a sense of the power of your actions: the way you act in the present moment does shape the world of your experience. You don’t need to be a victim of past events.
    So pay close attention to what you say – and to why you say it. When you do, you’ll discover that an open mouth doesn’t have to be a mistake.

  2. Rodney Little Says:

    Words are like dollars, or francs, or emalengeni, or rands, or birds, or rubles, or rats, cockroaches, thorns, pea gravel under a bare foot, or a mega-ton weight. Here I find wisdom. We may chose to climb, or wallow, or fail to chose and fall, yes? Thank you for the site, it guides me back to where I need to go.


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