A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 5)
How Gentleness Calms Conflict
Here’s a common scenario: Someone raises their voice against you, so you raise your voice in response. Then they raise their voice higher, then you raise your voice higher. And the situation keeps escalating.
Some scientists suggest we do this because mirror neurons in our brain are meant to give us the ability to empathize with others and even mirror what they feel. But, unchecked, we can begin to mirror the anger and antagonism of someone in an argument.
Let me give you a little tip that will save you a lot of heartache and conflict in your life: When other people raise their voices, lower yours—in your marriage, in your parenting, in your friendships, and at work. That’s called strength under control.
The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).
Gentleness defuses conflict. It deescalates anger.
When someone raises their voice in anger, instead of getting defensive, practice gentleness. Let your gentle answer disarm the other person and diffuse the situation.
Talk It Over
- Why do you think responding in gentleness rather than anger is so disarming? Why does it get people’s attention?
- How can you become more self-aware when you are escalating an argument?
- Look for ways to practice gentleness this week. How do people react when you respond to them with gentleness?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.