Saying the Right Words at the Right Time
Proverbs 25:11, A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
We are all familiar with the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Now, of course, we know that is not true. The Bible warns us that our words have power. Proverbs 18:21, Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. They can either build up or break down.
Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the right word and the wrong word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Wise people are careful in choosing their words when settling differences. Saying the right thing in the right way at the right time can be very effective in making peace with another person. The reference to apples of gold in pictures of silver describes something that is both exceptionally beautiful and extremely valuable. It aptly illustrates the benefits of well-chosen, properly-spoken words that bring reconciliation. This means they are beautiful and valuable. A person who knows the right words to say is like an artist who can make beautiful, valuable things out of silver and gold. The most valuable thing you can give most people is a word of constructive encouragement. It doesn't take much, but a little encouragement will go a long way in a person’s life. Saying the right word(s) at the time is priceless.
Our words have great power. They can build up and encourage someone who is struggling, or they can tear down and discourage someone who is seeking help. When we choose our words, we should always be aware of the impact that they can have on others. David wrote, “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me” (Psalm 39:1).
Few things are more needed in our world than constructive words—words that heal, uplift, and encourage! Proverbs tells us Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24). Since our words can have such a powerful impact on others, we should choose them carefully and make sure they are filled with grace. We should always be on the lookout for opportunities God gives us to speak a constructive, encouraging word to family members, friends, and associates. Since we encounter people every day who are dying for a kind, encouraging word let’s remember Proverbs 25:11.
There is a time for strong words in confrontation of sin. There is a time for comforting words when someone has a broken heart. There is a time for instructing words when someone needs guidance. Wisdom rightly assesses the situation and the need and then uses words which are appropriate to meet the need of the moment.
Encouragement is a universal need and, unfortunately, one that often goes unmet. I know that I've often been found lacking in encouraging others. Encouragement doesn't have to be a big or expensive gift. Often all that is needed is simply a gracious note or a kind word.
Question to Consider:
How often does God want to use us to bless someone else, but we fail to do so?
Point to Ponder:
Ask the Lord what words and verses you can use to encourage someone this week.
Prayer, Help me, Lord, to always remember that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Forgive me for being critical, judgmental, sarcastic, rude or unkind with my words. Help me to speak life and encouragement to those around me. Help me to be careful and responsible with my mouth to be wise and use my tongue to speak healing words. Teach me to know when to speak and when to be still or pray. In Jesus name Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.