Monday, November 20, 2017

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

OK, so maybe Thumper’s little speech about “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all” isn’t in the Bible but Proverbs 15 certainly has a lot to say to us about our speech.  In fact, nine of the thirty-three verses relate directly to the words we say. They seem to fall into three categories that are very instructive for taming our tongue and using it as an instrument for good.  Today’s study will look at the Content, the Tone, and the Timing of our words.  Getting these right will greatly cut down on arguments and misunderstandings, while drawing us closer to God and those around us.

Proverbs 15:23 (The Message)
Congenial conversation—what a pleasure!
    The right word at the right time—beautiful!

Things to think about:
·       Verses 1,2, 4, 7, 14, 23, 26, 28, and 29 all relate to how the righteous and the evil use speech to either build up or tear down
·      Of course, what you say matters!
o   Verse 2 - Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.
§  this verse is contrasting knowledge versus nonsense
o   When was a time someone shared godly wisdom with you that helped you think about an issue more from God’s perspective?
o   Have you ever been presented with “worldly wisdom” that you either immediately rejected or came to see for the nonsense it was?
o   What steps can we take to make sure we are offering God’s wisdom and not our own?
·      Clearly, how you say something is as important as what you say.
o   verse 1 – A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.
o   verse 4 – Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim
o   How have you seen a gentle response defuse anger?
§  When have you seen a sharp tongue start a fight?
o   The words we choose and how we deliver them can make all the difference in the world.
§  Can you share a memory of when someone was able to perhaps deliver a hard message kindly and thus engender healing and help?
§  We can all feel the sting of a harsh word spoken harshly. Why is this not an effective way to strike back, especially if we’ve been hurt?
·      As the saying goes, timing is everything. Our intentions can be good, even our words and tone sincere, but if the other person isn’t ready to hear it, it can cause more harm than good.
o   Verse 23 – The right word at the right time, beautiful!
o   Why does timing matter so much?
§  What are cues we can use to ensure our timing is God’s timing?
o   When has someone said just the right thing at just the right time that made a big difference to you?
·      James 1:19 - Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. 
o   Which of our three areas that should govern are speech come more easily to you?  Which one is the biggest challenge?
·      Luke 6:45 - A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
·      May we store God’s Word in our hearts, deal with others as gently as we have been dealt with, and save our words for when they can be of the greatest good.

No comments:

Post a Comment