Saturday, August 11, 2018

Think, Then Speak

There is great frustration in communication that does not accomplish the intended purpose. It is like talking to the air, receiving no acknowledgement of what is said, no indication that anyone listened at all. There are times when I share very important information with others, only to have them say they don't remember it, or worse yet, they never even looked at what I sent. I know others of you have the same issue from time to time. We are reminded today that well-spoken words bring satisfaction - these are words spoken in the right season, with the right intention, in the right spirit - 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 - the hearing or acknowledgement of the words comes much later.

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

I have been frequently found 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 or height of emotion - whenever we are sort of carried away by the moment. Sometimes, it is a word of sarcasm - not really intended to hurt the one hearing it - but cutting or discouraging nonetheless. At other times, it is my "full mind" on the matter which I speak - not always "rationed" in objective portions, or in quantities my hearer can possibly absorb all in one sitting. Either way, my words can accomplish more "dissatisfaction" at times than they bring "satisfaction". I imagine you may have struggled with this at times, too, because none of us is immune to this problem.

What are truly well-spoken words? I think they are those words that 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 - being able to 'read' the season is very important. 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 - they aren't going to be acted upon because they aren't even heard. Just as with planting seeds that will yield crops, the seeds of our words 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. Those seeds will be picked off by birds, small rodents, and even wither in the sun. We all know that the successful farmer 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 - asking 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 always to be 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 and grace. "Right Season" words are those that are both loving and grace-filled. They are truthful, but they remain kind and respectful. Just sayin!