By Pastor Sarah
Words, to me, are extremely important. I love the written word, which is why I surround myself with books, and I love to hear words said aloud in a sermon or a speech. I also enjoy sarcastic banter and kind words spoken between friends. Words have power and meaning. A kind word, a timely word, a word aptly spoken can encourage and uplift, but it can also bring correction and discipline.
Proverbs 25:11-13, talks about words finding the right place in the listener’s heart. “A word aptly spoken” can happen when someone tells you something, reads you something, or even posts something on your Facebook page that was just what you needed to hear that day. But, it can also be a word of warning or correction when you’re willing to hear it. Those words “fit” into our hearts in the same way that an apple of gold fits perfectly into a silver setting. Wise words, even when they are a rebuke and painful to hear, fit perfectly into an ear that is willing to hear. And, just as fresh air brings refreshment to our spirits so it is when we hear these words from one we trust.
I’ve been blessed with some incredible mentors in my life, and because I trust them and know them to be Godly and wise people who speak truth to me I’ve been willing to hear some very difficult things from them. As I read these verses and began to meditate on them I thought of two very clear instances with two different mentors where there was rebuke that needed to come into my life. The first situation I was very hurt when the rebuke came because I wasn’t in a place to hear it, but still I trusted the woman of God who spoke that apt word. A week or so ago I was reminded of her words and realized that her rebuke had stretched me and was still shaping me some 6 or 7 years later. My heart needed to change to make room for that word of correction, and when it did those words “fit” and found their way in to a listening ear. The other instance, I knew right away that what I had said was wrong, which only made it hurt that much worse to know I had disappointed this trusted mentor. But, rather than pain, his wise rebuke came to a listening ear and his words “fit.” They were painful, yet refreshing, because they came from a trusted messenger and were an aptly spoken word into my life.
Words that come as instruction can be painful at times. The writer of Hebrews said that, “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Just because it’s painful doesn’t mean it’s wrong or that we should turn away from it! What we do with correction and rebuke shows our true character.
Likewise, our words are powerful. When we feel the need to speak into someone’s life we should make sure our words “fit” and are spoken from a relationship of trust. Are we a trustworthy messenger for those around us? Do we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance before giving words of instruction or encouragement, rebuke or kindness? “A word aptly spoken” can make a huge difference to someone. Allow the Lord to work through you to speak words of healing, hope, laugher, and peace (and maybe even correction) over someone today.
Whether you find that you are the listener or the speaker in these verses I pray that you will allow instruction from a trusted source to find a place in your ear, and that you will speak words over others that fit beautifully into a heart that needs them.