1. Become soft and tender with the person.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15). When a person speaks tenderly with another, the tone literally halts the actions of others. This kind of action shows care and concern—sometimes softness alone can melt an anger-hardened heart.
2. Understand, as much as possible, what the other person has endured.
3. Admit the person has been wounded and admit any wrong in provoking the hurt.
Some of the most difficult words we can express are those words “I am sorry” or “I made a mistake in the way I handled that situation.” A survey confirms that teens know how hard it must be: their number one complaint in a recent survey about their parents could be summed up in five words: “They never say I’m sorry.”
Sometimes we may not think we’re wrong, but our attitude may be. Or we may have acted offensively. If my spirit is critical and angry when I tell my child about a legitimate problem, I’m still wrong.
James 1:20: “….for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
Proverbs 30:33: “For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of anger produces strife.”
4. Touch the person gently.
When people handle themselves properly, with love and patience and kindness, the physical and emotional distance can be bridged quickly.
5. Seek forgiveness – and wait for a response.
Try to elicit a positive response from the person before you turn away; but if you need to, start with the first loving attitude of being soft and work your way back to forgiveness. Remember, too, don’t just respond to your loved one’s words. If you’ve deeply hurt someone, that person may verbally retaliate to hurt you.