Proverbs 15:1 (NASB) A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. When I was growing up, I had the same problems as most children. I had to find my way in friendships, in neighborhood society, in the classroom with teachers and fellow students and with strangers. There were bullies back then just as there are now.
My dad was a strong character. He was mostly quiet and didn't make waves until something was important enough to stand up and be recognized. Once I told him of a boy in school who wouldn't leave me alone and his response was logical and to the point: "Son, in this life you have to take it and take and take it until you can't take it anymore, then you have to hurt him, but hurt him enough that it is worth the punishment."
My mom was the vocal one. She told me if she heard that I backed down from someone she would beat me when I got home.
As an adult, I had the blessing if meeting a preacher named Joey Spann. It is this Joey Spann you may have heard about when he and his wife were recently shot in a church assault in south Nashville.
Joey was a youth director back then. He and I worked together at the Northeast Church of Christ in downtown Nashville. That is when I learned something profound.
When young people, in their enthusiasm, would run up to him yelling that their parents wouldn't let them go to n event or that they were mad about this or that, Joey would calmly say, "Don't raise your voice to me. I am not the person who upset you."
He learned this from the Bible. Since then, I have learned it, and life is much better because of it.
Tony Stafford of the Miami Church of Christ