The world offers many suggestions for how to handle an insult. I’ve tried a few only to find I’ve made a painful experience worse. Life is hard enough without self-inflicted pain. In this post, I’m going to share four ways I’ve learned to handle an insult and why I think they’re the best way.

what to do with an insult, proverbs,

The Insult

I thought after homeschooling for 14 years that the insults wouldn’t sting as much. And when they’re hurled at me they don’t. Because, not only do I not  regret homeschooling, I praise God that He lead me in that direction. It’s been a blessing for me and our family. But when those insults are hurled directly at my kids—–do I even have to explain how that makes me feel? Surely, every parent can understand whether it’s about homeschooling or something else?

When they each came home and told me their story, my first question was, “So what did you say?” Their responses:  “I didn’t say anything.” and “I said thank you because at the end he wished me good luck in college ‘under the circumstances'”.

My kids shared these stories with me and laughed about them. I wasn’t laughing. Mammas have a desire to protect no matter how old their children get. But my children didn’t need protecting. They already knew what the Spirit was about to teach me—again.

The Aftermath

I gave my thoughts and feelings to the Lord instead of doing all the things I wanted to do. And that’s when I read this verse in my Bible Reading Plan.

A prudent man (or woman) overlooks an insult. Proverbs 12: 16
The Spirit touched my heart immediately and said, “Let it go, Stacy.”
I studied the verse a bit to be sure I fully understood it’s meaning and learned that God’s Word gives us at least four different ways to deal with an insult, just in this one verse! The Hebrew word for “overlooks” can be translated several different ways and each one gives us an option for dealing with an insult.

How To Handle An Insult

  1. Overlook it. Like when you’re trying to find your keys and you can’t, even though they’re lying in plain sight. We overlook our keys because there are so many places to look and so much to look at. Do this with an insult. When it happens or you’re reminded of it, overlook it by choosing to look somewhere else at something else. Change your focus.
  2. Quietly shrug it off.  My mom was so good at this. When someone said an unkind word to her or life didn’t go her way she would literally shrug her shoulders and say, “Oh, well.” I’m learning to do that. It’s amazing how freeing it is to just “shrug it off”. Try it right now. Just shrug your shoulders and say, “Oh, well.” Don’t you feel better already?
  3. Stay calm. One of my kids admitted to going in another room at work after the insult occurred and praying about it. She said she could feel herself getting angry and didn’t want it to show or affect her work. Prayer is the best way I know to stay calm. Remember: Jesus is right where you are, hearing what you hear, feeling what you feel. Talk to him about it and invite him to help you stay calm.
  4. Ignore it. I’m not saying ignore the person. One of  my kids explained how he stayed engaged with the person but just let his words “fall to the ground”. They fell and he chose not to pick them up. Words are heavy, you know? When someone insults you, ignore it. You can choose not to catch the words they toss your way. Picture their words just falling to the ground in front of you. If you’re carrying around heavy words someone spoke to you this week or ten years ago, drop them right where you are. Watch them fall and feel the weight that’s been lifted.

Why We Should Respond This Way

  1. By definition, an insult is meant to offend. And offense, is the bait Satan uses to enslave us in the trap of our own ego. The potential to be offended is always present especially when we are insulted. Avoid the bait and respond in wisdom.
  2. It’s no time to argue and debate. A person shooting fiery arrows probably isn’t interested in having a meaningful conversation.
  3. Perhaps the person making the remarks is having a bad day and will later regret their words. We have the opportunity to keep our peace and offer it to them.
  4. Most importantly, the Bible instructs us to respond this way and Christ modeled it.

Earlier this week I read this:

It was good for me to be afflicted so I might learn your decrees. Psalm 119: 71

I’m glad I had the opportunity to be insulted or feel the insults hurled at my children. It provided an opportunity for me to surrender my ways to God, receive grace, and learn a better way.

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  1. Andrea BS September 5, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    I do not know how I stumbled into your blog, nor what I am doing in front of my computer at this time. But how thankful I am that I did. Thank you! Today I was heavily insulted by an elder man. There was a small issue, and I apologized for it. Finding my Peace and duty to ask for forgiveness, even though there was wrong doing on his part too. But I was beyond that, I was humanized, and I was sorry for all. The man just went insane. I tried once again: “Did you hear my apologies?” But he just keep on, now raising his voice and engaging passerbyers to his cause. My 7 year old girl was with me.
    I firmly silenced, and calmly left, leaving the craziness behind me. It took so much of me to leave in peace, that I broke down into tears. Took me a few minutes to regain strength, peace, and thankfulness for what I have. Was I right to walk away? What was I teaching my child?
    It is scary to see how an insult, how a human being, can become so dark, so negative, so lost.
    Stacy, thank you for your post and True words. Andrea
    P.S.: I had a good talk with my daughter and she, despite not understanding the reason, understood the wrong attitude. We all make mistakes, we are all human. But it’s those brave ones who can humanize themselves and ask for forgiveness in Peace. To blame others is to be a smaller man (woman), is to succumb to your ego.
    Thank you,
    Andrea BS

  2. Sara September 5, 2016 at 4:14 pm #