A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. .. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:1-2, 4)
The first couple of verses in Proverbs chapter 15 bring me back to the theme of controlling our speech, but this time with a positive bent. The impact of someone who knows how to use their words wisely produces peace, offers up timely knowledge and brings healing.
My thoughts went to the New Testament where we are told: Take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go (James 3:4). James compares the tongue to a ship’s rudder or a bit that controls a horse; small things that can give positive direction to large objects or animals.
This made me think of some of the small words or phrases that I can use to build up the people around me. How long does it take for me to mention to my kids that I’m proud of an action they’ve done or accomplishment? One kind comment goes a long way in making peace in the home. Thanking people for their service or generosity prepares the heart for a growing relationship. Of all the people who should know how to encourage people with their words, Christians should be on the forefront.
Asking God to fill us with His Spirit implies self-control, not only in a negative sense, but also in a positive, proactive sense. I have a choice each day to ask God to make me aware of situations where I can bring a word of hope or encouragement, and then to act upon it with a word aptly spoken.