Thursday, September 17th

Thursday, September 17th

The key word for today is "edification." If we want to do our part in the pursuit of good relationships we will have to learn to genuinely "edify" the people around us. Edification is all about building up and not tearing down. The secret ingredient in being one who edifies is honesty. Our Proverbs 12 passage from earlier in the week speaks to this: "An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies .... Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil .... The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth."

The focus on honesty in our pursuit of being one who edifies other people is not so much on accuracy as it is on appropriateness. Whatever we speak into the lives other people needs to be accurate but not everything that is accurate needs to be spoken. This idea is captured well in the following Proverb.

A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23 (NASB)

Edification includes both correction and affirmation. If the words we speak into another persons life are all correction or all affirmation, then we don't really have an "honest" relationship. Words that are "apt" and "timely" will sometimes "correct" and sometimes "affirm." This being said, we need to address the more blatant dishonesty of "flattery" that is so prevalent in our day. The verses from Proverbs and the Psalm below speak to this very well.

Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous. An open rebuke is better that hidden love!  Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:4-6

In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery. Proverbs 28:23

Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it. But I pray constantly against the wicked and their deeds. Psalm 141:5

Pastor Ben pointed out this past Sunday that it is not about "buttering" up but about "building" up. How easily we become ones who are afraid to say anything to our friends that is not positive and affirming. How readily we surround ourselves with the wrong people. We need to have people in our lives who speak "truth" to us. But again it is truth where "accuracy" is tempered by "appropriateness." How blessed we will be if our relationship with others are characterized by "appropriate" interactions that truly build up with just the right amount of "correction" and "affirmation."

Put together a prayer response to God for yourself and remember to incorporate our theme response for the series "Lord, I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments."

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