This verse in Proverbs seemed to stand out as I was reading this morning. How true it is that gracious words are sweet to the soul! Can you think of a time when you were feeling down and someone said an encouraging word to you? I can recall many times when I have been wondering if I've ever made a difference in anyone else's life. Have I ever done anything that counts for eternity? Isn't it amazing how the devil can send thoughts like this to our minds? Instead of recognizing where they've come from and replacing them with what God says, we begin to dwell on them and start to feel discouraged.
Often as I am spiraling downward in my thought processes the Lord sends someone to show me how He sees me, or to thank me for something I did, or said. That happened just this week when my friend, Jane, was here from Colorado. She thanked me for inviting their family to CFO almost 20 years ago, and told me how that had totally changed their lives. (It was a small thing I did--just one piece to the puzzle--but it has had major consequences because Jane has been, and is, very active in the national leadership of CFO and has therefore affected many more people's lives.)
How refreshing to hear words of encouragement! It gives me new strength and the will to persevere. Those words truly were sweet to my soul.
As I continued to meditate on this verse my thoughts turned to all the people who are sick in the world. Could it be that these words are to be taken literally? Would gracious words--kind and encouraging words--words that help a person see themselves as God sees them--truly bring health to their bones? The New Century translation seems to say so. It translates this verse as "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, making people happy and healthy." What a simple way to spread health and happiness!
How much all of us need positive, gracious, kind, uplifting words because we are daily bombarded with so much negative news! We hear criticisms everywhere we turn! We compare ourselves to others. Could it be that more of us would be healthy if we had someone to speak words of hope to us? I think so!
Jesus, my prayer is that You will remind me how important it is to speak kind and gracious words to all I meet. I pray You will show me how you see others and the gifts you have put in them, and then to speak those words of hope and encouragement at every opportunity.