Do you ever get in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden you realize communication is not happening? I know that happened with my husband and me before. Somehow, we stopped connecting, we weren’t listening to understand, and sometimes things were said that hurt the feelings of one of us. Solomon, who is considered by many to be the wisest person, has great advice to help us communicate peacefully and effectively:
- “He who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (Keeps a person from putting their foot in their mouth or hurting someone.)
- “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (Harsh words can pierce someone’s heart, but wise words will bring healing to a relationship. We can pray for words of wisdom.)
- “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (A soft answer makes it easier for the listener to hear what is actually being said rather than reacting to harshness. It helps keep defensiveness from building up walls.)
- “A person finds joy in giving an appropriate reply, and how good is a timely word.” Proverbs 15:23 (The right words said at the right time are good, and joy can be found in it. Sometimes we need to wait for the right time to say certain things. Timing is so important!)
- “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:21 (Want to help someone understand what you mean? Use pleasant words to get your point across. Think of a positive way to get your meaning across.)
- “A word appropriately spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 (Words that are appropriate are going to be thought out, not a just a spur of the moment reaction that will stir up anger.)
- “A gentle tongue can break a bone.” Proverbs 25:15 (A gentle tongue is not weak. A gentle answer can accomplish a lot.)
When voices get louder, people get defensive. When people get defensive, they stop listening and stop communicating even though they’re talking. I love how Solomon teaches us to hold our tongues, not use reckless words but careful and thought out words, to use soft and gentle and pleasant words. Did you notice the proverb that says, “A person finds joy in giving an appropriate reply,” and their words are timely which means a person waits until the timing is right. Sometimes that means waiting until the next day. It means thinking about a response ahead of time so an appropriate reply can be given.
There is so much wisdom from God in Proverbs, a book in the Bible!