Fools show their anger at once, but the prudent ignore an insult. Proverbs 12:16, NRSV
I’ve known a few people over the years who would say nasty things just to get a rise out of someone. For whatever reason, they enjoyed upsetting their friends, relatives, coworkers, and the occasional stranger. The person on the wrong side of their remarks usually responded in one of two ways: strike back with angry words or keep a hurtful silence. Either way, they gave the instigator the satisfaction of a response, a reward for his or her bad behavior.
Ignoring an insult isn’t the same as taking it in hurtful silence; ignoring is acting outside of direct engagement, leaving the insult with its speaker. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but there are two very good reasons to give it a try. 1) If insulting behavior isn’t rewarded, it will cease (this may take some time, but it will work). 2) Once the bad behavior stops, a positive relationship becomes possible. To do this takes strength and patience – in other words, prudence.
It’s something I’m hoping to grow into…