Respond in Kind

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Civility. Propriety. Respect.

These are words seemingly devoid of our world today. We have given ourselves permission to vilify, tear down, and even shred a person’s character and dignity in public through social media with no thought about the damage it will inflict. It is known as cyber-bullying. 

Some have been deeply wounded, and others have been so profoundly affected that it has caused them to take their lives.

Some impassioned exchange words that end in violence. Some who claim to love each till death do them part, speed the death process in a fit of rage. Domestic violence is at an all-time high during this pandemic and not showing signs of slowing.

Political areas are filled with rhetoric and mudslinging. It becomes difficult to distinguish truth from lies, and often, we never hear the truth of the matter.

Personally, when those arrows of anger, hate, and lies come to our doorstep, we have a choice. Our first response is almost always fleshly. Maturity teaches that we must follow God’s word to be ‘slow to speak’ because it allows our flesh to calm and our spirit to inquire what our right response should be.

Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

When we respond in kind, anger to anger, wrath to wrath, and violence to violence, we become just like those with which we engage. A wise man once told me:

“Never argue with a fool. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!”

Wise words. 

Sometimes, correction comes to us, and how we respond as children of God matters. If our spirit is right, we can take discipline from any and every person who approaches us.

Proverbs 15:10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.”

When we take offense, we must return inward to determine why God’s peace has left at that moment.

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

We may want to justify our anger or our response to anger because of the wound sustained. Playing the victim is nowhere to be found in God’s Word as the right response.

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”

As we live and grow, we learn how to respond in every situation and circumstance. That preparation pays off when listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading every time.

So, when next attacked, what will be your response? We may think of some snarky comment as a retort, but does that honor the Lord? We need to consider how our response will affect our testimony? 

To respond in kind is not possible for the child of God when it involves any negativity, hurtful, or hateful words.

Ephesians 4:26-27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

Responding in kind opens the door for the devil to use it to damage ourselves and those around us. We are told how it is we are to respond.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

When we see the other person as a soul for whom Christ died, we can adequately respond as God would have us. 

I leave you with an admonition from James:

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

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