John of Kronstadt

A man who is wrathful with us is a sick man; we must apply a plaster to his heart – love; we must treat him kindly, speak to him gently, lovingly. And if there is not deeply-rooted malice against us within him, but only a temporary fit of anger, you will see how his heart, or his malice, will melt away through your kindness and love – how good will conquer evil. A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good.

Charles Bridges

A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grevious words stir up anger. (Pr 15:1) What a valuable mine of practical wisdom is this Book of God! Let us ponder this valuable rule for self-discipline, family peace, and Church unity. Scripture often illustrates the different effects of the tongue. The soft answer is the water to quench – Grevious words are the oil to stir up, the fire. And this is alas! man’s natural propensity, to feed rather than to quench, the angry flame. We yield to irritation; retort upon our neighbour; have recourse to self-justification; insist upon the last word; say all that we could say; and think we “do well to be angry.” (Jonah 4:9.) Neither party gives up an atom of the will. Pride and passion on both sides strike together like two flints; and “behold! how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5.)Thus there is the self-pleasing sarcasm; as if we had rather lose a friend, than miss a clever stroke. All this the world excuses as a sensitive and lively temper. But the gospel sets before us our Saviour’s example (1 Peter 2:23); imbues with his spirit; and imparts that blessed “charity, that is not easily provoked” (1 Cor. 13:5); and therefore is careful not to provoke a chafed or wounded spirit. If others begin, let us forbear from continuing the strife. `Patience is the true peace-maker’. Soft and healing words gain a double victory – over ourselves and our brother.