The Good, Bad, and Ugly Use of Words

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I wonder if encouragement and civility are becoming lost virtues. Encouragement and kind words are recommended if you want success in business or some other venture.

 A well-managed establishment will insist their personnel are careful how they address customers and clients. But what about day-to-day transactions at the store, bank, restaurant, or other place of business or entertainment for those of us on the receiving end?

When you are engaged in some transaction, how do you respond? How about while driving or parking? What about at home? We may expect encouragement and courtesy from others, but do we extend it to others?

Scripture

A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger. As a tree gives fruit, healing words give life, but dishonest words crush the spirit. Wise people use their words to spread knowledge, but there is no knowledge in the thoughts of fools. [vss 1, 4, 7]

Those who make fun of wisdom don’t like to be corrected; they will not ask the wise for advice. People with understanding want more knowledge, but fools just want more foolishness. People with quick tempers cause trouble, but those who control their tempers stop a quarrel.  [vss 12, 14, 18]

Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others. People enjoy giving good advice. Saying the right word at the right time is so pleasing. The LORD hates evil thoughts but is pleased with kind words. Good people think before they answer, but the wicked simply pour out evil. [vss 22-23, 26, 28]

Good news makes you feel better. Your happiness will show in your eyes. If you listen to correction to improve your life, you will live among the wise. Those who refuse correction hate themselves, but those who accept correction gain understanding. Respect for the LORD will teach you wisdom. If you want to be honored, you must be humble.  [vss 30-33]

(‭Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭1, 4, 7, 12, 14, 18, 22-23, 26, 28, 30-33‬ NCV) [Context– Proverbs 15]

Key phrase— As a tree gives fruit, healing words give life

[bctt tweet="As a tree gives fruit, healing words give life"]

Digging Deeper...

  1. What are we told about how we answer and speak to others, in the first few verses?
  2. What is the difference between those who have and love wisdom, and those who don't?
  3. Why is giving and getting good advice beneficial, and what is needed to get and give it?
  4. What are the benefits of good words, self-control, and humility?

Reflection...

We all like to hear good news and encouragement, but are we dispensers of the same to others? Living in a self-absorbed culture, as ours is, it's easy to get jaded with one-way expectations. But if we're all waiting for the other to speak kind words, well... will probably not get many.

I've often seen simple words of appreciation and kindness change whole conversations, or the way a transaction is going. Most of the time, servers in a restaurant or representatives of any business respond more positively when I'm positive towards them. The reverse is true also. Many times my attitude changes when a person treats me with courtesy and pleasantness.

How about trying to be the bearer of good news, kind words, and encouragement to others, even when it's unexpected? Make a point of trying to do this for at least one person each day this week. If you do, let me know how that goes!

Make it personal...

When was the last time you encouraged someone you didn't know?

How often do you encourage those you know well, especially in your household?

Who has spoken encouraging and kind words to you recently?

How often do you make a point of saying something kind and encouraging to someone?