Solomon shared many wise nuggets that are useful in managing relationships. In the scripture above, he is saying that if your boss or Manager becomes angry that you should remain calm. In so doing, your calm demeanour will reduce whatever caused them to be offended. Even psychological theory suggests that it helps an angry person to calm down more quickly, if you remain quiet and maintain your composure. Mirroring the angry person’s behaviour is like attaching yourself to a burning house. If you see a house on fire, would you walk in or stand back at a safe distance to protect yourself? So why do we join in and share an angry person’s emotional outburst?
Solomon also said in Proverbs that, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). I know that it is not easy to respond with gentleness, when someone has expressed anger towards us. The human tendency is to retaliate and to match the other person’s harshness. The question is; are we any better than the person who spoke harshly to us and are we not joining them in being harsh? The bible says that we should not render evil for evil or insult with insult. Better yet, we should repay evil with a blessing so that we will inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).
Many problems and wars could have been avoided with a kind word. Many fights could have also been avoided, if someone had the sense to walk away. It is not easy to continuously take insults without the urge to retaliate. Our will power alone is not enough to stop us from retaliating. A mind, body and spirit submitted to God is easier to restrain from retaliating in the flesh. Even well meaning christians sometimes retaliate and experience angry outbursts. Sometimes this is learnt behaviour which was modelled during childhood. Other times, unresolved trauma and abuse can result in suppressed anger, which can lead to a bad temper.
Remaining submitted to God and being led by the Holy Spirit will help us to overcome. God can also heal damaged emotions, from past hurt and abuse and the Holy Spirit can teach us how to manage our emotions. Daily quiet time with God in prayer and meditation also helps us to remain calm. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).