Jesus doesn’t want us to live in anger. He wants us to live in one Spirit with one mind. So, think carefully about the above proverb. What does it mean? The difference between a gentle answer and a harsh word is simple. Either we call someone an idiot for making a mistake or we gently explain to them where they went wrong.
Patience is vital to living a life for Christ. We can believe in Jesus, and Jesus will forgive us of our sins when we ask him to, but is he going to be able to use a hot-tempered person to teach his children more than a patient person? If Jesus wishes us to live as one body in one Spirit and in one mind, then, no, absolutely not. “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel” (Proverbs 15:18).
Not only does following the ways of gentleness and patience keep us in good spirits with our friends and families, but it also benefits us with those who may not be our friends. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
Sometimes butting heads is necessary, but it should always be a last resort. We, as followers of Jesus, should look for ways to resolve disputes without escalating conflict. “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
Even when someone continually does something that offends us, it’s better to give gentle responses and have patience, because, then, we will be promoting peace. Peace is better than battling the people around us. “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14).
If we see that our friend or our family is getting fed up with us, getting angry with the things we say, or aggravated with our actions, then we should stop doing whatever it is that we are doing! We should stop it before we lose something precious to us. “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9).
The world does not revolve around us. It revolves around Jesus. So, matters that can create conflict between people should be handled with care. Offensive talk and actions should be recognized and omitted. And when all patience, gentleness, and talk fails, “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you” (Proverbs 20:22).