“WISDOM OF LIVING (11): FITTED WORDS” 12/05/2004
Proverbs 25:11 By Pastor YAU
INTRODUCTION: Everyone understands the sweet feeling when words were used aptly. The word “apt” comes from Latin “aptus” which means “fit” or “suit”. We may add “proper, appropriate or right” to expand the fitness of using words. King Solomon said, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” as quoted above. How beautiful is the picture the sentence has said.
The essence of the saying is not on “A word spoken” but on “aptly” or “properly” spoken. Most of us have heard or read, if not personally experienced, the embarrassment of words improperly or inappropriately spoken and the terrible consequences caused. Few were born with the endowment of speaking aptly. But we all can learn the basics of the art of speech. Here are a few suggestions:
PROPER MOTIVES: (Proverbs 10:12; Ephesians 4:15) (Please read the scripture ref)
1) Speak the truth in love: Both Scripture verses stress the importance of “LOVE” as the proper motive when we talk, especially talking about others. This is about attitude. We need to ask ourselves WHY we say the thing we are about to say. Proper motive in our speech reflects the true nature of our inner nature.
2) God demands proper motives: God did not ask that we all have the talent of speech, Moses did not. But He asks that we all have the proper motive when we talk about other people. God never punished Moses because of his lack of speech talent. He did punish Miriam, Moses’ sister who was good in speech and poems, but used her talent the wrong way when she spoke evil against her brother Moses.
3) Christian testimony demands proper motive: In most cases, people can tell if we have proper motive or right attitude when we talk about other people. From the words we use, the expression, the emphasis and the tones we speak, most people can tell if our motives are good or not. This has to do with our character.
PROPER CONTENTS: (Proverbs 12:19)
1) Truthful and honest: “Tell the truth, all the truth and nothing but the truth” are required by courts of law when a witness gives his testimony. The same is required of Christians when he/she talks about people or things. The Bible condemns severely on deceitful tongues. God is a God of truth and so is Jesus.
2) No hear-says: Too often, people pass on comments or criticism they never saw or hear personally. They pass comments or sayings of others who did not see the facts either and rumors continue like wild fires. Unless you are very sure of the facts, do not pass on stories you were told. Otherwise, you are part of the gossip.
3) Nothing personal: Personal flavor or interpretation we tend to add to information may change the truth or facts. That distorted version may be changed again if it is passed on through other persons. That’s why rumors are always false and we need to be careful not to listen to, or to believe in.
PROPER PERSON: (Proverbs 27:5)
1) Be direct: If you have something to say or comments to make, talk to the person whom you want him to hear. Do not talk to a third party hoping he will pass on the comments you have. He may twist your idea and you will bear the blame.
2) Be polite: We all want things done properly for the best result. So, be polite and gentle when relating your comments and suggestions. Allow the other side time to explain or give his reasons. Focus on the matter, not the person.
3) Be creative: Use phone calls, email or letter writing to communicate your ideas. This will give you time to straighten out your thoughts into proper wording which may carry your ideas more effectively and clearly.
PROPER TIME AND PLACE: (Proverbs 15:23)
Many have done wrong in this area: say the right thing at the wrong time or place.
1) Right timing is very important. If you have opinion or suggestion or objection to some ideas in a meeting, tell them right there. Meeting time is the best time to discuss issues and ideas. Holding it back and talk to unrelated people can never achieve desired results. It becomes gossiping.
2) Right place is also important. Do not insult people in front of others, especially those you love and are close to you. There are things we need to say in public and things we can only say in private. Be wise to tell the difference.
3) Be patient: If you still feel uneasy or can’t find proper channel, time or place to communicate, just wait a little while. Things may change and your mind may be changed after a day or two. Give yourself time to digest your thoughts and find proper time to relate your thought is always a wise thing to do.
PROPER AMOUNT: (Proverbs 10:19, 17:27-28)
Many of us have problem on how much to say. We tend to talk too much and regret as much afterwards. Here are some steps to consider:
1) Save your mouth to save your life. (Proverbs 13:3) Too many lives were wasted or ruined because of unguarded mouths. If you don’t have to say, then don’t.
2) Talk less and make less mistakes, Proverbs 10:19. We tend to make mistake by talking too much, more than it is necessary. Think, organize then say only what is needed. Apostle James advised us to listen more and talk less. James 1:18.
3) Be wise, Proverbs 17:27-28. Do not give unsolicited advice, unless it is to your family. People are not ready to listen to advice when they do not ask for. Your volunteer advice will be treated as intrusion or just plain nosy.
CONCLUSION: You are the master on words you haven’t said. They are under your control. But once they are said, you have no control on where they may go, how people may respond, interpret or what they may do to help or hurt. Therefore, be careful and wise before you open your mouth.