(Pro 15:1 KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
If there has ever been a good piece of advice, this is it. It brings to mind Jesus telling us that peacemakers will inherit the earth. We are reminded of the command to turn the other cheek. We are told that love is patient and kind. We even see it repeated in verse 18. The examples go on, but it does not fit the wisdom of the world.
This is a verse that is often quoted but, just as often, ignored. There are different reasons for this neglect.
One reason it is ignored is that we are afraid to be “soft" (gentle NASB) (7390). We don’t think it will really work. We are afraid to look weak. We worry that people will take advantage of us. We will. They will. That does not do away with the command. As Christians we are to be salt and light, not the saltiest and the brightest. Those are standards of the world. As much as I enjoy a good John Wayne movie or Louis L’Amour western, the tough, rugged individualist is not the standard for followers of Jesus. We are not called to clean out the rough frontier towns with our icy nerve and iron backbones. We are called to be examples of righteousness and holiness.
We do not like being those kind of examples. They are not “cool”. They are not the paths to power and fame. They make us stand out in ways we would rather avoid. They force us to live by faith and not by sight, to boast in our weakness and to trust God when we would rather be in control.
This does not mean that we never stand up boldly and defy evil. That can also be following the example of Jesus. He could have had smooth sailing is He had been more seeker friendly with the Pharisees. He could have avoided the cross by being a little more flexible with Pilate. He could have booked a tour of Cairo instead of Jerusalem. Instead He looked death right in the eye and did not blink. There are times for that but we need to be careful that we are doing it for the glory of God and for real principle not just for our ego.