“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, ESV).
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” is often a child’s mantra, but adults will recognize it as mere bravado. Angry words, snide remarks, gossip — all these things knock and ding our reputation and our well-being until we are destroyed completely, broken by their cruelty and thoughtlessness.
We know this, or should. But have you ever considered the potential your words have to build and strengthen, teach and develop? Is there a young person you know who needs a gentle word of guidance? A discouraged church leader who could use an expression of gratitude? A shy individual who needs your inclusion?
A lonely elderly person who needs some company?
An elderly friend would invariably have exactly the right thing to say. I could see him work his way across a room, producing smiles and gratitude every time he spoke. I asked him one day how he did it.
“You always have exactly the right thing to say.
He said, “It’s simple. Before I arrive, I give some thought to each person I will see, and plan to say something encouraging.”
“Plan to say something encouraging.” Is it so simple as that? Usually when words harm, shred and destroy its because we didn’t plan what we would say. We just blurted it out, like a gusher in an oil field shooting out the filthy black stuff. Usually it’s the unplanned words that harm! Think about it.