"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
A couple of weeks ago, I released “Do Your Words Build Him Up?” on my Sunday Night Sessions podcast. The post is all about how we, as women, display a spirit of gentleness with our children, family members, and close friends, but that we fail to do so with the men in our lives, specifically our husbands. The podcast is my longest to date, 22 minutes, and it is my least popular post.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gentleness means, “having or showing a kind and quiet nature”. The New Interpreters’ Dictionary of the Bible defines gentleness and meekness interchangeably to mean, “considerate, humble, not having an inflated sense of self”.
We are all drawn to gentle people. You know, the ones who always have a kind word to share, a smile to offer, and can calm a tense situation with their presence. Once we encounter people who easily display gentleness we wonder why we can’t be as peaceful…at least I do. What are they doing that I am missing, and how can I incorporate being more gentle into the fabric of my life? I may want to start by minding my mouth.
Proverbs is one of the most essential books of the Bible. In it are 31 chapters (enough for you to read each day of the month) that provide a guide to living wisely. Proverbs is also a great roadmap to help us become gentle with our words. Here are a few examples:
Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” There are many references to the tongue in the Bible, but I’m sure we’ve all heard this scripture quoted many times. Proverbs 18:21 gets to the core of the effect the words we speak have on others. What we say to our spouses, children, family, friends, and even ourselves, has to power to build us up or break us to pieces. This is why it is of utmost importance that you speak with gentleness so people walk away from the conversation with their spirits intact.
Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. Have you ever come home in a funk, and snapped at everyone including the dog because you’ve had a bad day? Have you ever done this and ended up in a shouting match with your loved one? Here’s the truth: the way you interacted with them caused an emotional collision that created a very hostile environment, and the people that live with you don’t appreciate it. If this sounds like you, accept the role you played, apologize for it, and pray for God to give you gentle words to say in order to avoid these moments. Either that or walk it off before you get home.
Proverbs 15:4: “The gentle tongue that brings healing is the tree of life”. When you are willing, then God can speak gentle words to bring healing into someone’s life through you. Being used by God in this manner is one of the most gratifying and humble experiences because you are able to witness firsthand the power of God—to heal, to restore, to uplift, to encourage—through words.
Proverbs 16:24: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” There are healing qualities in honey that, because of its thickness, becomes a protective barrier over wounds to prevent infection and to foster wound repair. For this very reason, this is my favorite in this series of scriptures because God is comparing our words to the restorative power of honey. To know that the words we speak can be a salve to someone’s emotional wound, preventing further damage and encouraging healing is amazing. This makes me want to always be mindful that the “words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be [gentle] and acceptable in [God’s] sight” and to His ears.
This leads me back to that podcast. If you are not speaking gentle words to the people in your home, your circle, your life, then now is the time to transition to doing so. God will give you the power to change so that your words offer healing qualities, and don’t destroy the spirit of those who love you.
Join me on Wednesday, August 3rd for Faithfulness, the next installment in my "Living the Fruit of the Spirit" Selah Blog series.