A proverb I always try to remember is Prov. 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
A good example of how hard it is to live out this teaching is found in a story appearing in READER’S DIGEST several years ago:
A woman who frequented a small antiques shop rarely purchased anything but always found fault with the merchandise and prices. The manager and her salesclerk took the woman's grumpy complaints in stride, but one day she went too far. "Why is it I never manage to get what I ask for in your shop?" demanded the woman.
A smile on her face, the clerk calmly replied, "Perhaps it's because we're too polite."