In my last post I shared how words separate or satisfy relationships. The words we speak have the power to shape the climate of our relationships. By looking at Scripture from Matthew 12, Proverbs 18, and Ephesians 4, we discovered a powerful truth:
Words are the fruit of the heart that separate or satisfy relationships.
So that raises a question: What do wise words sound like? The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom that, if applied, can transform relationships by simply using our words wisely. Here are seven characteristics of wise words that satisfy relationships:
1. Few – Proverbs 10:19 (NLT) says, “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” The lesson is clear: There is wisdom in few words. It reminds me of the old saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
2. Healing – Proverbs 12:18-19 (NLT) says, “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Wise words have the power to mend, restore, heal, and set free. Is that the nature of your words? Do they heal your relationships or make the hurt deeper.
3. Truthful – Proverbs 12:22 (NLT) says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.” You cannot build solid relationships without truthfulness. Words of truth are part of the character that make up trust in relationships.
4. Encouraging – Proverbs 12:25 (NLT) says, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” It’s amazing how a word of encouragement can not only brighten a persons day, but in some cases, change the trajectory of their lives.
5. Gentle – Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects when it comes to words and relationships. Remaining calm and gentle is a powerful thermostat that sets the temperature of our relational interactions. This one characteristic would probably save a lot of marriages.
6. Persuasive & Kind – Proverbs 16:23-24 (NLT) says, “From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Many people focus on using their words to persuade (or more likely manipulate). I don’t think it’s an accident that “kind words” follow the word “persuasive.” Nor is it an accident that “wise” precedes the word “persuasive.” Words that persuade are words that are both wise and kind.
7. Timely – Proverbs 25:11-12 (NLT) says, “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.” What we often forget is that unsought advice is rarely heeded. Wise words are always spoken at just the right time, in just the right situation, and with just the right spirit.
Question: Which of these seven characteristics of wise words is your greatest challenge in your relationships?