“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!”
Prov. 15:23 NLT
The silent atmosphere in the truck between Emory and me was tense. Miscommunication and assumption on both our parts had resulted in raised voices, heightened emotions, and blame. What had started out as a fun errand had turned into a sullied stand-off. Apologies and forgiveness were eventually given, but our careless words over an insignificant disagreement had been anything but right!
Our focus today will be on Proverbs 15. In this single chapter, we find several verses pertaining to the mouth and the good or bad it can bring in adverse situations with others. The choice is ours.
“Pleasant words are pure.” (vs. 26b, NASB).
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet, in the heat of the moment, our words are often anything but pure, much less pleasant. This simple instruction says not only do we need to be careful of what we say, but how we say it. Our words need to be clean, wholesome, and untainted. Likewise, if given in a welcome tone and humble attitude, others are more likely to receive them.
Verse 28 offers some how-to help for verse 26 –
“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
If you are a believer, then you are righteous because of what Jesus did on the cross for you. In the midst of conflict, turn to Him for strength to hold your tongue as you purposefully consider how you should respond. This doesn’t come easy for most of us. It takes practice and willingness to give up being right or having the last say in a dispute.
The following verses in Proverbs 15 offer two more options for us to consider.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath” (vs. 1a), and
“A soothing tongue is a tree of life” (vs. 4a)
– OR –
“…a harsh word stirs up anger” (vs.1b), and
“… perversion in it crushes the spirit” (vs. 4b).
Gentle and soothing is so much better than harsh and perverted, don’t you think? And who wouldn’t choose peace and life over anger and wounds? It takes maturity and discipline to contemplate and think before speaking. Yet, you can do it with God’s help!
I challenge you to consider the benefits of a ‘fitting reply’ and the joy it brings when we have right words to give. Let’s be life-givers, not life-crushers.
[Digging deeper – Ps. 141:3; Prov. 24:26, 25:11; 1 Peter 3:15]
Pondering my words,
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