Saturday, January 21, 2012

Choose Your Words Carefully

Pro 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Isn't this just one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible? As the Holy Spirit inspired this verse, as the writer penned it and as the translators gave it to us in our tongue, each must have considered this verse as words fitly spoken.

I remember the days when I was weekly ministering on the Ute Indian reservation in Colorado. To speak to these folks could be very frustrating. They generally studied the floor during the entire sermon as if they were ignoring the message. When you talked to them one on one, they were very slow to respond. The extended dead air that hung between my comment and their reply was extremely uncomfortable.

Finally, someone explained to me how their culture dictated that they think deeply on a matter before answering. I was made aware that they were listening intently to every word, but it would be considered impolite to immediately respond. That would be indicating that they weren't really considering the matter. Therefore, no "amens" were offered during the sermons.

By the way, another cultural more’ was that they should not look a stranger in the eye, especially for more than a moment. The reason being that said stranger might be a witch and exercise control over them in that moment of exchanged gazes.

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

We tend to shoot off at the mouth without really putting those apples of gold into their pictures of silver. In our culture, we start our response before our counterpart has even finished his sentence. Rude, rude, rude.

You've seen it on the cable news programs. The host won't even allow his guest to answer the question before they begin opining. If the guest calls them on the carpet for their lack of consideration, they spout back, "It's my show, not yours!" How discourteous!

What we need is less monologue and more dialogue. Words can have great power. But they can also be completely meaningless. Some tend to have diarrhea of the mouth (Yikes! Talk about words fitly spoken!)

So, slow down, be more contemplative. Encourage, teach, edify with carefully chosen words. Allow your speech to be helpful and meaningful rather than blah, blah, blah.

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