Speaking to the Soul – January 27

The words of the godly are like sterling silver

The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense. Proverbs 10:20-21

Francis de Sales, a much-loved Bishop of Geneva in the 17th century said: “Our words are a faithful index of the state of our souls.” Whether we like it or not, our words give us away. They reveal for all to see what is going on in the core of our being. That surely means we should focus our attention on ensuring that we speak well. How wonderful to think that well- chosen words could be like the purest silver and bring encouragement to many.

Our verses today also say that “the words of the godly encourage many”. Other translations refer to our words as “nourishing” or “feeding many”. I have to conclude from this that it is important we reflect on the way in which we speak. We shouldn’t open our mouths and simply hope that we get it right.

May I suggest two positive things that we could all do to help us to speak in a more encouraging and helpful way?

Firstly, we need to pray before we speak. When we know that we are meeting up with someone, let’s pray that God will give us the right words. Let’s reflect on their life and ask the Holy Spirit to give us insights that will bless them. And let’s specifically ask God to give us just the right words to speak.

Secondly, we need to reflect more after we’ve had a conversation. None of us is perfect and we often learn most from our failures. So let’s not miss out on learning the lessons which our failures so generously give us! Perhaps, on reflection, we will realise that we could have been more thoughtful, loving, challenging, encouraging or kind. Let’s reflect and take that into account for next time.

In what specific ways do you think you could ensure your words encourage and nourish other people?

Lord God, help me to use my words with more love and care so that they build other people up. Amen