This week I have blogged about what Proverbs says about our words. I’ve used the acronym “FACTS” to describe our words: Few, Apt, Calm, True.
This leads to the final letter of the acronym: “S” for sweet words. Few, Apt, Calm, True, and finally sweet words. The ESV calls these “gracious words.” “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24).”He . . .whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” (Proverbs 22:11). What can sweet words do?
◦ Peaceful words (Proverbs 15:1)
Sweet words can bring peace instead of war. This is “the soft answer that diffuses wrath.” Or the wisdom according to James that is “from above . . . peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy.” (James 3:17).
◦ Restoring words (Proverbs 10:17; 25:12; 28:23)
Sweet words can restore those who have sinned. “Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.” (Proverbs 25:12).
◦ Instructing words (Proverbs 15:7; 13:14; 31:26)
Sweet words can instruct the ignorant, the simple, the young. “The lips of the wise spread knowledge.” (Proverbs 15:7). Of the virtuous woman we learn,”She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26). Sweet, instructing words involve parents teaching children, older women instructing younger women, godly men discipling younger men, and spiritual leaders training the next generation.
◦ Rescuing words (Proverbs 14:25; 24:11-12)
Sweet words rescue the perishing. “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12).
Are you using your tongue to evangelize, to proclaim the gospel? If your words could be used of God to save one person and you were silent, would that not be a terrible sin? I know God is going to save whom He will, but the disobedience of silence is a sin nonetheless. Don’t be disobedient to the heavenly command to proclaim the truth.
◦ Encouraging words (Proverbs 12:25; 15:23; 16:24)
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Proverbs 12:25).”To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23).
Who can you encourage this week with a personal word face-to face pointing out an evidence of grace in their lives? Who can you send a note, an e-mail, or call just to encourage them in some way. It won’t cost you a dollar, won’t take more than a few minutes, but it may just be what someone needs that day or this week. A word of encouragement is priceless and precious! Why do we express encouragement so rarely?
◦ Delivering words (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Sweet words can deliver those in oppression―physically or spiritually. “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9). Who is God calling you to speak up for?
◦ Gentle words (Proverbs 15:4)
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4).
For more on wise words, you can read or listen to the message I preached on this theme.
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