A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Dissected & Defined
Soft means to easily yield to pressure. To answer means to speak in return. Wrath is a feeling of getting even. Grievous words are oppressive language. Anger is a negative passion of the mind.
This proverb is another of many that deals with the interpersonal skill of responding and reacting properly to others. Solomon is teaching us a truth that is easily proven, but we must remember it has an underlying meaning. The meaning of this verse is hidden in the phrase “soft answer.” When we define soft we see that it is the process of yielding to pressure with little or no resistance. When coupled with the word answer, which means to speak in return, we see that we are to respond to others by yielding to “a pressure” without resisting.
When To Apply A Soft Answer
May I remind you that the person to whom you should do this with is someone who is approaching you in wrath. Thus, we can conclude that when someone wants to get even with us for a perceived wrong, that we will experience a prompting to respond easily to that pressure.
Now, who do you think will lead you to respond softly to a person that is seeking revenge from you? Do you think it would be the devil? Well then, pray tell, by a process of elimination, who is it? Of course, it would be the Holy Spirit.
Turn Away Wrath
You see, when we are confronted by another party that perceives that we have wronged them we will experience two very different pressures. One will be internal and it will encourage you to respond softly to its persuasion. The other will be external and it will cause you to use grievous words. These types of words are oppressive. Oppression simply means outside pressure. In other words, when you yield to the wrong influence, you will respond to outside pressure toward you with outside pressure from you! This will simply cause great negative passion in the mind of the allegedly wronged person. By yielding to the Spirit’s leading, that wrath will turn away from you.