In Proverbs, the Lord tells us that “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” I’m pondering that today.
I greatly treasure those friends who speak aptly to me. Some have the gift of knowing when to encourage, when to challenge, and when to simply listen. Some are able to help me put my life, with all its joys and problems, into perspective. Well-spoken words have the power to convey hope, faith, and love.
Many people have left a beautiful legacy in my heart by speaking beautiful words to me. A friend of mine posed the notion that a person who becomes richer, rather than bitter, as they age has chosen to absorb what was beautiful and godly from people in their lives and to let go of what was not. There is a skill to hearing aptly, as well as speaking aptly.
Conversely, words poorly spoken and poorly timed can do great harm. These are the words that often haunt us. Why is it so easy to remember the words that cripple our hearts?
I know that I have often wounded others with my words. Sometimes, this was through the actual words that rolled off my tongue. At other times, the problem was not with the words, but with the timing. I have blurted something out when the hearer was not in a position to truly hear and consider my thoughts. In order to use words skillfully, we have to discern when to speak as well as what to speak.
Since, as Jesus tells us, we speak out of the overflow of our hearts, the ability to use words wisely comes from staying close to God. Whatever our hearts are full of will spill out in the words we say.
This applies to writing fiction, as well. Whoever the author is as a person shows up in the work.
Oh, to be able to speak and to write words that are well chosen and well timed! That is a prayer of mine.