Responding to Harsh Words

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1 NIV

How do you respond when someone criticizes you?

Most of the time it’s normal to snap back with strong words of defense. But as you’ve probably discovered, that does little more than escalate an already tense situation.

What would happen if you practiced the instruction from Proverbs 15:1 and spoke kindly and gently to even those who dole out harsh words or unjust criticism? Acting in this fashion requires believers to discipline themselves and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, choose to respond rather than react.

So the next time you face a verbally volatile situation, take a deep breath and whisper a quick prayer, inviting the Spirit of God to give you the strength necessary to lower your voice and speak His words of life.

Prayer Focus

  • God, I admit I want to fire back at those who criticize me, but help me surrender my right to be offended and submit to You.
  • May the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer, (Psalms 19:14)
Karen Woodall

Karen Woodall

Karen is primarily a writer/editor for InTouch Ministries, but also pens for other ministries, and crafts discipleship posts for She lives near Atlanta, homeschools her kids, loves sports, and desires to help believers know Scripture and live for Jesus.
Karen Woodall

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