He who gives attention to the Word shall find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
The wise in heart will be called discerning,
And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Understanding is a fountain of life to him who has it,
But the discipline of fools is folly.
The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Lately, I have been meditating on and committing to memory this portion of scripture. As I studied the passage over and over, God began to impress on my heart a troubling question. I sensed the Spirit asking me, “Do you believe the Word of God?” Of course, my immediate answer to that question would be YES! I love the Word and love spending time immersed in reading, studying, and applying God’s principles to my life. But, as I considered this passage of scripture, I had to admit that in this area of my life, I tend to think that I know just a bit more than God. Let me explain what I mean.
Verse 21 states clearly that sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. I don’t know about you, but there are so many areas of life that I desire my children to be persuaded about. I want them to be persuaded about the plan of salvation. I want them to be persuaded about living a life of righteousness, I want them to be persuaded that God’s Word contains all that they need to live a God-honoring life. I want them to be persuaded that bad company will corrupt their good morals. I want them to be persuaded that sin separates them from their God. The list could go on and on. My desire to see my children persuaded in these areas is not the problem. The problem is the method I use to get there.
As the beginning of verse 21 so clearly points out, it is “sweetness of speech” that will add the necessary persuasiveness to my communication. I read those words, I know that God’s word is true, but honestly, sometimes I live as though sweetness could never persuade my children. Instead, I resort to harsh, accusatory, or even angry words. My actions show that I believe that “my way” is an alternative route to achieve persuasiveness in my children’s lives. Even though the Word of God reminds me that the anger of man will never achieve God’s purposes, I, too often, resort to lecturing and bullying to force my point of view on my children’s lives.
I’m thankful for God’s conviction in this area! I want to be characterized by verses 23-24, a woman with a wise heart that is teaching my mouth and pleasant words that bring sweetness and healing to my children. I know that I am not alone in this struggle to communicate in a Godly manner with my children. Will you allow me to share some of what the Lord has shown me in this area?
Moms, evaluate what external factors can cause you to be harsh, angry, or even just unpleasant in your communication. For me, late nights, running behind schedule, a disorderly home, and unresolved conflict are right at the top of the list. We must proactively make the necessary changes to order our lives in such a way that the Spirit of God, not the circumstances of life direct our speech and communication.
Secondly, we must recognize that when we allow ourselves the freedom to speak in ways that are destructive, we are in sin. We can’t just move on and hope that no one noticed! The Biblical mandate is to seek forgiveness and get right with those we have wronged; whether those wronged are our husbands, children, parents, or simply friends. Honestly, asking forgiveness of our children will be some of the sweetest and most persuasive teaching we can give them.
My prayer for myself, and for you as well, is that we would learn to hate our unsweet, unpersuasive, ungodly communication. Will you join me in praying for God’s hand of conviction in our lives and for the discipline to give attention to the Word so that we can become wise of heart and then finally, that we would develop discernment so that we are sweetly able to Biblically persuade those we love?
I must admit this comes as great comfort to me, Megan!!Simply knowing that I’m not alone in this struggle! God has been deeply convicting me about the words we use in our home over the past several months and I, too, often resort to angry words to “persuade” my children. The tongue holds the power of life & death and I am asking God to help me choose LIFE! Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing. It is a blessing….
I can indeed relate. I discovered that I was speaking more kindly to the ladies in Bible Study than my own child. I had to seek forgiveness. I have found that the more I use scripture as a method to persuade my children the more I speak kindly. It is so much easier to speak my words angrily than speak God’s Words angrily, especially since I know He speaks to me with kindness and patience. Thank you for sharing!