What do you do when someone says something unkind to you?
What is your natural tendency when someone bites you with their words?
If you are anything like me, you probably have a less than honoring reaction. You bite back with unkind words. Your goal is often to put the person back in their place with words that sting.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Someone says some unkind to you. You return it with more unkind remarks. It goes back and forth until relationships are damaged often beyond repair. Feelings are hurt, and emotional scars have been left as permanent reminders of the pain inflicted by someone’s tongue.
You are guilty of it, and I am guilty of it too.
So how do we stop the cycle?
I think we can learn a lot from Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” Jesus (Matthew 5:38-40)
Here are some things we can learn from these words:
3 Ways To Respond When Someone Is Unkind To You
- Resist the urge to respond in kind. I know you want to snap back, but you must resist this temptation. This takes practice, patience, and persistence. When you respond in a similar manner, you are only throwing kindling on the fire.
- Take it, and take it again. Expect more unkind words from the verbal perpetrator. In fact, welcome these words. Sure it will hurt, but you will put the fire of unkindness out by avoiding a response. A fire needs oxygen to be effective. Unkind words are like oxygen on a fire. When you decide not to add unkind words to the exchange, you are helping to put out the fire.
- Respond with generous kindness. It’s hard to frown at someone who is smiling at you. Similarly, it is hard to keep throwing unkind words at a person who is lifting you up. Decide today to be an encourager.