By: Kennisha Hill
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24).
I used to be a person who was quick to speak and slow to think. I said what I said and meant it. I used to call it being direct and straight-forward; always needing to make my point clear even if I was wrong. Later, I realized just how wrong my behavior was. I never considered anyone’s feelings. I only considered myself.
When I realized how I was not operating in a loving way and that my words were often offensive, it hurt me to hear that. In my mind, it wasn’t always intentional. But I can honestly say I was the person who had moments where I meant every word and even the sass that came along with it. I proudly spoke my mind. But when I decided I wanted Christ to come into my heart and change me, I realized how rude and obnoxious of a person I was. I realized just how badly I really needed God’s help with my tone. I realized I was wrong.
I used to always say, “It’s never what you say, it’s how you say it.” What I meant was, even if you’re correcting someone out of love, there is still a way to say it. Even if judging is necessary to aid in someone’s redemption, the tone matters.
I think a lot of times we can forget to be sweet and kind with our words, especially if we’re dealing with difficult people or are under stressful circumstances. Let’s be honest here. I have to constantly remind myself to speak graciously and with gentleness. And some people’s attitudes just make you want to “go there” with them. But even then, I think it’s appropriate to ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” I can tell you what he’d do. Respond mercifully and with compassion– recognizing the real need there. Jesus put everyone’s need before his. That’s something I believe we should all try to imitate. And the more we draw closer to him, the more we realize that it’s not about us and our ego’s. We truly put on Christ when we put others before us– even during hard times. Think of what Jesus did in the midst of how people tortured him. Yet and still he prayed, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)
When I read this verse, I instantly prayed that God would soften my speech and allow my words to always be pleasant and sweet to the soul. This is by far the perfect definition of what it means to exhibit Christ-likedness in our behavior and speech. Sweet like honeycomb.
I’m thankful for Proverbs 16:24 today and for how God’s word is always made available to help us grow to be more and more like him every day.
I’d like to challenge you to practice speaking words like honeycomb. The next time you’re faced with a challenge that would instantly provoke you to react in a way that you know is inappropriate, take a deep breath and ask God to soften your speech so that your words can be healing. You never know, the person you’re in contact with just may need it more than you know.