“A word fitly spoken” is one of my favorite Biblical expressions (Proverbs 25:11, KJV). The main reason is that words we use have dramatic impact. For example, just say the word “bomb” in an airport and you will immediately be detained or arrested, and, at the least, probably miss your flight.
One of the most important ways to apply “a word fitly spoken” is with words of affirmation. A conversation I had not long ago dramatically illustrates this point.
As I was walking through the dining area at our weekly church-sponsored free meal for the community, a lady called me aside for a private conversation. She discussed several personal issues and obviously had very low self-esteem. Finally she said to me, “Would you tell me I’m a good person?”
I was so taken aback that all I could do was to say the question back to her. This gave me time to think and finally to respond, “Can we pray about this?” to which she readily agreed. In my prayer, I stressed how important she was to God and to others, and sought God’s help in helping her accept this. This was a conversation I will not soon forget.
One of the most valuable actions we can take is to affirm another person. Such expressions as “You did a good job,” or “You look very nice today,” or “I appreciate what you did for me,” are ways all of us can be a shining light to those around us.
A statement I especially enjoy saying is in response to a child who tells me his or her age. I say, “That is a great age to be!” I’m usually rewarded with a smile and more conversation.
Affirmations will help a person have a good day and perhaps motivate him or her to pass on an affirmation to someone else.
Several centuries after Solomon wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, NKJV), Paul made a similar point with these words, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6a, KJV.)
Let’s work on fitly spoken words, seasoned with a little salt.