SEPTEMBER 23, 2015
"A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered." Proverbs 17:27 (NLT)
"I can’t STAND my husband. I’ve had enough; it’s over. I’m finished with this marriage, Sharon. I’m done … DONE!" Kate yelled as I held the phone away from my ear. When she stopped to take a breath, my friend started sobbing. I could hear her children fighting and her baby screaming in the background.
Before I could respond, Kate asked, "May the kids and I come over for lunch? I need your help. I don’t know what to do."
Everything in me wanted to say, "NO!" We were renovating our house and using my bedroom as a makeshift kitchen. I hadn’t been grocery shopping and had no idea what I’d feed all our kids, the two of us and the construction crew.
Despite my hesitations, I said, "C’mon over and …" Her phone disconnected before I finished the sentence.
Rummaging through a box, I found lunch — oatmeal, walnuts and maple syrup. I boiled water on a tabletop burner, wiped 15 bowls that were covered in construction dust and prayed for God to help me help my friend. I knew if her marriage was going to be saved, it wouldn’t be because of my words. It’d be because of God’s.
Kate didn’t seem to notice the messy house. She had tunnel vision and only saw her wrecked marriage. After we ate lunch, the kids played outdoors while my friend and I stayed inside. I let her talk for over an hour. As she told me her story, I thought to myself, Oh my! I can’t imagine being married to this man either! He’s an inconsiderate jerk.
At the end, Kate looked at me and asked, "Well, what do you think?"
I paused before answering. My flesh wrestled with my spirit big time. The more she talked, the angrier I became for her. Part of me wanted to come up with mean jabs for her to say back to her husband. Or encourage her to give him the silent treatment. Or go yell at him myself!
But I knew none of these "solutions" would help heal Kate’s heart or her marriage. Do you remember the old saying, "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all"? Scripture tells us a similar thing in today’s key verse of Proverbs 17:27, "A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered."
Sitting with my friend, I took a deep breath, silently asked God to forgive my anger and instead of giving advice, I said, "Let’s pray and ask God what He thinks."
I prayed for help to say only what He wanted me to say. Words rolled out of my mouth that I hadn’t planned. Words based on Scripture, not my emotions. Words of kindness, not contempt. So much better than my thoughts.
Oh my goodness — I can count more times than not when I’ve blurted out words that should never have been said, especially in the heat of the moment. Do you know what I mean? Mercy!
But, let me tell you something — if we consistently read God’s Word and pray, the most amazing thing will happen: We’ll follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, even when our human desires want to do or say something different.
I’m thankful I paused and invited the Lord into my conversation that day. Kate said, "I’m going to need more prayer to get through. Everything you prayed convicted me. I do love him and have renewed hope that God is going to turn this around."
Notice she didn’t say she would need tons of conversations, clever words or plans to retaliate. Just a short prayer based on Scripture revived her. We have continued to pray together, and her wrecked marriage is being restored.
The next time you’re tempted to give someone a piece of your mind or spout long-winded advice, pause first. Invite the Lord, through prayer, to lead your thoughts and guide your few words.
Lord, help me not to lean on my own understanding but in everything acknowledge You so that You can direct my words, thoughts and actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 15:28, "The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words." (NLT)
Proverbs 15:7, "The lips of the wise give good advice; the heart of a fool has none to give." (NLT)
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Learn how to resolve conflict with kindness and confidence in your most important relationships with an Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do your words reflect the fruit of the Spirit, as described in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
Take note of your words each day. Are they few or many?
© 2015 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105