Speaking Words that Help, not Hurt

Speaking Words that Help, not Hurt

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Speaking Words that Help, not Hurt

WHAT:     READING THE TEXT:  Proverbs 15:1-4

SO WHAT:     REFLECTING ON THE TEXT:
1. Gentle rather than gruff demeanor
     What we say and how we say it matters (cf. Proverbs 18:19). So when conflict emerges in a relationship, we should be mindful of how we respond. Striking out with attacking tones designed to wound another person is not going to help restore a relationship. Rather than being gruff with one another, we should be gentle.
2. Uplifting instead of unwholesome
     We should put off corrupt speech and speak that which builds up others (cf. Ephesians 4:29). The unwholesome talk consists of foul and disrespectful language, telling lies, slander, gossip, flattery, and so on. Uplifting speech blesses others through positivity and humor (cf. Proverbs 15:15) and in how we carry the Gospel truth to others (cf. Proverbs 10:11), redirect individuals to the truth (cf. Proverbs 25:12), and encourage people in the truth (cf. Proverbs 15:23).
3. Silence before retaliation
     Instead of responding to someone in anger who has done something or said something to upset us, Solomon advises, “He who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). And in today’s culture, the restraint of our words comes in various forms. We should not take to email or to social media, like Facebook or Twitter, to try to even a “so-called” score. God is everywhere (v. 3), and He will hold into account the words that we speak.
4. Building up, not breaking down
     Verse 4 flies in the face of the horribly false adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Most of the time doctors can reset broken bones so that they heal, but some individuals never recover from hurtful words spoken to them or about them. Our words should build up, not break down (cf. Proverbs 16:24).
Read Luke 22:19-20. As something of a play on words, the Word of God was broken so that we might be built up. The most hurtful thing you can say is, “Not today Jesus” (read Hebrews 3:12-14). The most helpful thing you can say is, “Come into my heart, Jesus” (read Romans 10:9-13). The state of our hearts will determine what comes from our mouths (cf. Matthew 15:11).
NOW WHAT:     RESPONDING TO THE TEXT:
  • Ask yourself when you are in a disagreement with someone if you are speaking with a condescending, critical tone (gruff) or if you are speaking in a kind, constructive manner (gentle).
  • With whom have you shared the Gospel lately? Do you need to redirect someone in the path of truth? Who have you encouraged today? How has your attitude and how have your words been a blessing to others?
  • Bite your lip before you retaliate.
  • Dedicate what you say to the glory of God and to the good of others.
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