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Monday, November 1, 2010

Speak out, in love

14 Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
   well-done work has its own reward. 
(Proverbs 12:14)

There is great frustration in communication that does not accomplish its purpose.  It is like talking to the air, receiving no acknowledgement of what is said, no indication that anyone listened at all.  Our writer reminds us that well-spoken words bring satisfaction - the words spoken in the right season, with the right intention, in the right spirit - these are the words that accomplish their purpose. Yet, there is not always a clear indication that these words, though spoken well, have accomplished anything - because the revelation of what has been accomplished in the speaking of those words may be delayed until a different season.

I have been guilty of speaking all that I think - without thinking through all that I speak!  It is a tendency for us to do this in the heat of emotion - whenever we are carried away by the moment.  Sometimes, it is a word of sarcasm - not really intended to hurt - but cutting, nonetheless.  At others, it is my "full mind" on the matter - not always "rationed" in objective portions.  Either way, my words can accomplish more "dissatisfaction" than "satisfaction".  I imagine you may have struggled with this at times, too.

What are well-spoken words?  First, they are spoken "in season".  There is a time to speak what we know will bring light into a situation, and there is a time to remain silent on a matter.  The writer of Proverbs tells us that words spoken "out of season" fall on deaf ears - actually not penetrating through to the heart or soul of the receiver.  Just as with planting seeds that will yield crops, the seeds must be planted in the appropriate season.  If you plant crops that need long, warm days to germinate and take root, planting them in winter will stunt their growth, or keep them from growing at all.

Second, well-spoken words are spoken from a prepared heart to a prepared heart.  Consider the farmer planting seeds in his field.  If he hurls those seeds haphazardly on soil, just somehow "believing" they will grow wherever they fall, he is a fool.  We all know that he spends hours and hours preparing that soil long before the seed falls to the earth to begin its work of taking root.  If we want our words to fall on prepared soil, we first begin with preparing the soil of our own hearts.  Words spoken from a heart that has been touched by God's Spirit will be kind, appropriate, and in season.  The receiver's heart must also be prepared to receive - we can ask for help with this by asking God to open the heart of the one we are speaking to.  Just remember - this may take time - we must remain sensitive to the timing of the Lord.

Last, but not least, well-spoken words are delivered in love.  Seeds haphazardly sown take very little effort on the part of the farmer.  We can be too quick to share our minds, too limited in what we share, or too timid in our sharing that the words we speak are sown haphazardly.  Love is a governing force in our lives - we need to think before we speak, and learn to not always speak all we think.  Tougher than we think!  It is quite easy to speak - it is quite another thing to take what we think to God first, asking him to "temper" what we speak with his love and then to speak ONLY what he has covered with his love.