When Your Answer Isn’t Gentle

answer gentleA gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

How well I know that verse. Really, really well. But the sad truth is that it doesn’t always infiltrate my heart and mind before my tongue unleashes it’s wrath. And if that person has a reputation for being ugly and hateful, it lends a whole new challenge for me.

How do you deal with someone who is mean and spiteful? From experience, when I fly from the cuff, I almost always fail. On good days, I walk away and pray, and then pray some more while the event or conversation swirls in my head and clenches my stomach because I know a quick response will not be gentle or kind. It torments me at night, causing a loss of sleep.

And this is when I know I have to pray to let it go. I pray for God to reveal if there is more He wants me to do in the situation or if I just need to be quiet and move on.

That. Is. Not. Easy. To. Do.

When I take it to the Lord in prayer, I never have regrets and I can walk away. I wish I could remember that every time!

Now, let me address an issue that I know can be a problem for some of you. You do not have to allow someone who is mean and ugly to stay in your life. Being gentle doesn’t mean being abused.

It is perfectly acceptable to say, “This is not a healthy relationship for me and I am no longer going to respond.” Then you must stick to it. If it’s via email, have your email program set up so that any further contact goes to the trash and then leave it there. Don’t torture yourself further by opening the emails.

There are folks who feed on drama. They want to engage you. They want to prove that you are the one who is wrong. You are responsible for their lives being messed up. You get the picture. Those are not healthy relationships – family or not – they don’t need to be part of your life.

Pray for them and walk away. Walking away may be the gentlest and best thing you can do for both of you.

PS – I know I have failed in the past few weeks in this area myself. It’s a constant battle when words come quick to my fingertips/keyboard.

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  1. this is such a good word, Mel. I couldn’t agree more. I also relate to everything you wrote. God bless you.

  2. That was very cool i weirdly enjoyed reading this it kind of brought back those memories of how i use to act when i met my first bully in school ha ha i was such a push over back then lol

  3. I am glad I have come across your blog. I have suffered trauma in my past which still intrudes on my life in the present. I had to deal with an incident just a couple of days ago where I came face to face with someone who I had cut out of my life due to their treatment of me. Someone who blames me for all the wrong in their life and so on. Means to say I am the bad one. I thank you for writing this post because this is what I needed to hear at the moment.

    • I am so glad you are here and I am praying for your tough situation. I have one of those that blames me too and I have done my best to cut them out but they show up once in a while. I understand how frustrating it is.

  4. Mel,
    What a lot of sense this makes…..what happens if your brother has come to live with you (otherwise he would be out on the street), and he has a wonderful heart, BUT…..he can be very snappy when it comes to talking to me…..and then again he is nice as pie and buys things for me that I need. Like, a couple jackets, a couple sets of flannel sheets, and other things.
    He works around the house for his keep…..But what do I do besides pray….cry in the shower, or cry when he goes to work?
    I am praying for this situation because I know he has a heart and he gets along with everybody.
    Please pray.
    I loved your article….it’s making me think!
    God Bless you,

    • Donna, sometimes we can only pray. And that is really our best means of battle and yet we somehow feel like it’s not enough! But it is. It always is. Living with siblings can be tough. We know exactly how to push each other’s buttons and we tend to not hold back with them. I will be praying for your situation. Thank you for your kind words!

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