What are the right words with which to criticize a king that is in a position to kill you for what you say? The prophet Nathan found the right words to help David the king, to clearly see himself. His words reversed David's spiritual decline. Nathan's word picture of a rich man taking a poor man's pet lamb was powerful and touching indeed. They were the right words at the right time!
How do you immediately get a Bible study with a powerful foreign official? Philip chose words with punch and yet enough courtesy to propel him from the desert roadside into the treasurer's chariot and a powerful, life-changing study of the words of Isaiah 53. The right words open doors. The wrong words close doors.
When an angry, powerful man is coming to kill your husband, what do you do? Do you run and hide, stay and cry, or ponder your words for just the right statement to sway him to reason and insight? Abigail chose the right words and her speech cooled David's anger while it warmed his admiration for her. It is valuable indeed to choose the right words for the occasion at hand.
When Jonathan's best friend David was threatened with death or at least exile, the young prince's speeches were an example to all friends in lending support and encouragement with choice words!
God Said To "Consider": -- The right words are often needed in Christianity today. We are commanded to give consideration to our efforts of provoking or stimulating our brethren to love and good works, (Heb. 10:24). That means we are to ponder the needs and personalities of our weak brethren and are to work at choosing the right words with which to strengthen them. We are to exhort -- but the real command of that passage is the simple verb "consider" to provoke one another to love and good works. God commands the thinking, searching, and agonizing necessary to find the right words.
Finding The Right Words: -- We can find what will help if we try. Nathan, Abigail, Jonathan, and Philip did. We must keep building our ability to say the things that minister grace to those who need us (Eph. 4:29). Here are some things we can do to find the right words that will help others:
1. We can decide we are obligated to improve our ability to say what's best on any given occasion. Too many say, "I don't know what to say" and try to shed the responsibility to find the right thing to say. Others speak but their tongue becomes a butcher knife cast into the heart of those they are trying to "help." In addition to Heb. 10:24; Col. 4:5,6 and Eph. 5:15 command us to develop wisdom in helping others. 2 Tim. 2:24 commands us to improve our teaching skills.
2. We can study the Bible to find things that work: -- When Jesus picked just the right words to stimulate the Samaritan woman to spiritual curiosity and self-honesty, He taught us a lot about one group of choice words which arouse another's interest. It is possible to find things that work by perceptibly looking at Biblical role models.
3. We find the right words with empathy: -- Too often, well meaning spiritual
people bull into another's life. They tell them exactly what they should do
without any awareness of the other's emotional condition or mood. They not only
fail in their effort to help, they come through as insensitive, pushy bores
and they close doors for later help. God commanded a spirit of empathy in Rom.
12:15 and 1 Cor. 12:26. Wise men don't sing songs to the heavy-hearted (Prov.
Identify their mood. Be sympathetic. Then speak gentle words to help find receptive ears.
4. Tone is important to the right words: -- Often the right words can end up sounding different from what is literally expressed. The words are good but the tone is altered by anger at something else, excessive tension, or just plain exhaustion. Prov. 15:1 teaches that tone is important for really changing the angry man. A portion of people who need help respond more to a tone than they do the specific words that are used. Watch your words and watch your tone!
5. Visual words work faster!: -- Nathan used a concrete, visual situation with David. There was a quick response. Christ often taught by painting a visual picture. When Abigail cooled the angry David, she painted a vivid picture of him as king. Paint a picture with words. Hunt for a visual or concrete word. The meaning will be clearer than a long speech loaded with abstractions.
6. Words of support are valuable!: -- When David was threatened by the jealousy and javelins of Saul, Jonathan was there to offer words of endorsement and support. Words of support are needed by Bible class teachers, elders, deacons, parents and weak, troubled Christians today. They are not a waste of time. Rather, they are great and valuable motivators.
God expects you to care about the end result. Words, forced into sounds are just particles of bouncing air until they move the brain of another in a valuable and powerful way. Hunt for better words!
By Harold Comer, via. Gospel Power Vol. 13, No. 27, July 2, 2006.
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