by Rick Warren — May 3, 2023
From The Keys to a Blessed Life
“A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.”
Proverbs 15:1 (GNT)
Gentleness diffuses conflict. It disarms critics. It’s persuasive. It’s attractive. And gentleness communicates love.
If you’re married, the quickest way to improve your marriage is to start talking to your spouse more gently. It’ll do wonders! How many married couples could benefit from Proverbs 15:1, which says, “A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up” (Proverbs 15:1 GNT)? Any fool can be selfish. Any fool can be rough. Any fool can be rude. But a gentle answer goes a long way.
In any marriage you’ll hurt each other emotionally many times—so a great marriage is simply the union of two great forgivers. I’ve been married to Kay for more than 40 years. I’ve hurt her so many times, and she’s hurt me so many times. But we’re both great at forgiving. That’s a part of gentleness.
Gentleness is not only the key to an effective marriage; it’s also the key to effective parenting. If you’re a parent, never discipline out of anger or frustration, but always gently and out of love. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger . . . but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (AMP).
I can honestly say to you that I never remember my father raising his voice against me growing up. Was he ever upset with me? Of course. Did I ever really blow it and give him every reason to be angry? Many, many times—almost on a daily basis! But he was a gentle man. He had strength under control, and he would not yell at me. He showed me his love through his gentle nature.
Let your gentle response do the same in your relationships.
Whether or not you’re married or have children, the principle is the same for all relationships. Remember, “A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up” (Proverbs 15:1 GNT).