For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth: .... a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7B (NET Bible)
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21
Post conversation reflections can take us in a number of directions: we may regret hurtful words spoken by us; we may think of the perfect retort to hurtful words spoken against us; we may bemoan missing an opportunity to say something helpful and uplifting; we may be relieved we didn't say the hurtful words that almost came out; we may be grateful we didn't hear the hurtful words we expected; we make look back with satisfaction on the good words we shared with someone who was hurting and needed our support.
Solomon was "right on" in our Ecclesiastes passage: "a time to keep silent, and a time to speak." In our Proverbs passage Solomon gives a great tool for evaluating whether it's time to keep silent or it's time to speak. Solomon divides the words we speak to others into two overarching categories: There are words of death and there are words of life. The words we speak to others fall either on the "death" side of things or on the "life" side of things. Words that decrease the quality of life of another person are on the "death" side of things and words that increase the quality of life of another person are on the "life" side of things.
Jesus said that we should treat others the way we want them to treat us and certainly this is paramount when it comes to choosing the words we will use in our relationships with others. If we want words from others that help and heal, then we must become ones who master the art of speaking words that help and heal the people around us. The more the words we speak to others are hurtful and destructive, the more we can expect the same kind of treatment.
Lord, help me to be more focused on you and the needs of other people. Help me not to be so wrapped up in myself. Deliver me from the snare of living life like it's all about me. Change me Lord so that I do not want to hurt anyone in anyway. Make me into someone who only wants the best for others. Make my tongue into an instrument of grace, healing, and blessing. Amen!
Posted on Mon, July 13, 2015
by Alan Porter