The cause of most friction
For reading & meditation - Proverbs 16:21-33
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (v.24)
Watch your tone of voice carefully. An old Chinese proverb says, "If you have a soft voice, you don't need a big stick." I am convinced that most of the friction in human relationships is caused not so much by the words we speak, as by the tone of voice in which we speak them. Our speech conveys out thoughts; our tone of voice, however, conveys our mood. How easy it is to say, "I love you," in a tone that conveys the very opposite. Proverbs does not actually say we should focus on the right tone of voice but the implication is clearly there in the command to use words that are kind and gentle and tender. Of course, you can say things in the right tone of voice without any real feelings of kindness at all. That is why the Bible urges us to do more than seek a change in behavior, but a change that goes right down to the core of our being. Change must always come from the inside out, otherwise it will not be real change. Take once again the germ-free scalpel of the Spirit - the Word of God - and if necessary let it cauterise your tongue. Indeed, let it go deeper - into the "thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12, NKJV). What is our conclusion after meditating these past eight days on the subject of words? Is it not this: the wise are those who understand how their words can impact another person, for good or for bad, and commit themselves to using words only as Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29 - words that are "helpful for building others up."
O God, I ask once more, help me to hold my tongue when I should and to speak when I should. I see so clearly that my tongue can have sourness or sweetness, but it cannot have both at the same time. Give me the wisdom of a right way with words. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What is to motivate our words?
2. Read 1 Corinthians 13, changing the word "love" for "my words."