Written by: Dcs. Heidi Goehmann
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Our words matter. We know it. We just have a hard time making the transfer from what matters deep down to a life lived in it. It’s the reality of the sinner/saint condition. We know it. He helps us move to living it. It’s an imperfect growth process.
The Bible speaks all kinds of Truth about our words, which we would be wise to heed. It also speaks all kinds of grace over every single area of our lives. Jesus lived perfect, so that we don’t have to. To remain teachable, it is helpful to remember that now I know in part. He is working on me, every day, every hour, perfecting and discipling, until the day I see His face and know in full (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Today I want you to hear a balm of truth held deep in the book of Proverbs 16:18-25 –
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good.
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it,
but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the
soul and health to the body.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
1) Pride leads to destruction. (v. 18)
Pride will always hurt ourselves and our relationships. Things spoken with pride, even when i is not consciously intended, chip away and destroy others bit by bit. Paul recommends that when we boast we boast in the Lord, not ourselves, not our children, not our ethnic group, our home town, or any of that. This sounds kind of harsh, but when we speak we can ask ourselves this question…what space was taken up by our price that wasn’t speaking Life and Jesus to someone? Even when I hop on Facebook to tell everyone how awesome my life and my 4 kids are, how can I shape my words to give glory to Him, honestly and authentically, instead of myself, or even my little ones?
2) A wise heart uses judicious speech, sweet speech, discernment, and persuasiveness.
(v. 21, 23)
Note this: persuasiveness is different than manipulative speech. Persuasive speech that is discerning, is concerned with what God thinks of things. It doesn’t persuade for the sake of the speaker, but persuades because of the value placed on the individual to whom they are speaking. This value comes from a loving God and does not change in any condition.
What in the world is judicious? It is speech that has good judgement and sense. It has good timing and concern for those we speak to. It is sensitive to a person’s culture, maturity, and life situation. It is sweet and gentle. Not sticky sweet, but it is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). The question to ask here is “How can the person I am speaking to best understand the message I am sending?” Not “I must get them to understand my message, whatever it takes!” Sometimes the words that seem right, do not speak Life, and Jesus is always Life. (v. 25)
3) Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, health to the body. (v. 24)
Forgive me if you feel that the following is taking these words too literally. Listen to the Life wrapped around them, especially in light of what we have learned in this century. Research shows that children who have been abused and/or neglected are more likely to have chronic illnesses, asthma, colds, and reduced immunity. Abusive words are often cited by survivors of abuse as the worst part of the traumatic experience.
Words can bring Life and health of Death and destruction. Jesus speaks health and sweetness into our lives with His Word. He tells us we are loved, we are chosen, we are valued, we are forgiven, we are free. He also tells us that we are in need of forgiveness, that we do mess up, that our life without him resembles a pit, but even the knowledge of all that is balm to the soul when you know God who runs down the road, reaches into the pit Himself, and lifts your head up to His praise and honor. Our words of grace and truth are worth speaking to those around us, there is a hurting world, desperate for the honeycomb of Christ Jesus.
Girls, today I pray especially for our homes, where so many of our words are exchanged. Lord, you fill us up and tend to our every need. May Your Words flow out of us at the proper time and all Grace and Truth. Use us, Lord. Give us Your wisdom. We stand as vessels. Empty us of ourselves and fill us with the Sweetness of Your Spirit. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.