The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Last week we began talking about anger and it’s effect on a marriage – on a family – and the effect the Gospel can have as we repent and seek to change.
This week the verses which stood out to us in Proverbs 16 are written above. Those who are wise are able to discern accurately how they should live. They have sweetness of speech, which means they are able to easily persuade others to make wise choices as well.
A few years ago Tom asked me to return some items for him at the local Radio Shack. He said the receipt was in the bag. When I got there the manager said the items were too old, and she could not accept the return. She was quite rude about the whole ordeal and acted as if I had asked her to pay my mortgage, for goodness sakes! I knew Tom wouldn’t be happy because it was a fairly expensive total. I pleaded, asking if there was anyway she could make an exception; she gave me one of “those looks.”
Defeated, I called Tom to tell him the news. He asked me to let him speak to the manager. I handed her the phone and watched the most unbelievable thing happen.
In a matter of minutes he had her not only agreeing to the return, but she was smiling as if all was well in the world. When they hung up she gave me the cash, and I walked out of the store in total unbelief.
Of course I called Tom back when I got to the car.
“What on earth did you say to her to make her turn on a dime like that?”
He said he was just nice to her and joked around a bit. This completely turned her mood from sour to sweet.
Now I realize this isn’t always the case, but being Tom’s wife for 32 years, I can honestly say it is MOST of the time with him. It’s unbelievable. Sweetness of speech really is persuasive.
The next verse compares gracious words to a honeycomb. As we pondered this metaphor we were led to look up some facts about bees as they build a honeycomb.
- The worker bees instinctively know how to build a honeycomb.
- They never stop working for the honeycomb is never finished.
- Each cell is built according to the plan with six equal sides. There are no variations.
- Each cell joins the next cell to make the honeycomb strong and secure.
- The honeycomb provides nourishment for the bees, a nursery for the young bees, and a place to store food for the future.
- It is full of rich antioxidants that prevent many diseases.
- Honey in the comb is known to help allergy sufferers overcome persistent attacks in the region in which they live.
Consider this in regards to marriage. As we choose to speak gracious words to our spouse and our children, we are building a honeycomb of sorts. This supplies food for the future and strengthens us in our present circumstances. It builds up our resistance to sin and helps us return each day renewed and refreshed. It provides health and peace. It helps our marriage grow strong and secure able to defend and supply.
The next time you’re tempted to speak harshly or in a selfish way to your spouse, consider what kind of effect this will have on your honeycomb. Will it be built according to the plan or will you be inviting “killer bees” into the colony? These bees have migrated across continents and are invading the health and well-being of our honeybee colonies. They are defensive and masters at attacking their prey.
Another threat to our honeybees is an unknown virus which invades the honeycomb and causes the bees to disappear. This is a fairly new phenomenon that has scientists puzzled.
Oh the metaphors to the current state of marriage in our country! We are being attacked from without and from within. The answer is to be anchored to the creator. As we attach ourselves to Him and His Word He will make sure the truths of these verses take place within our lives and marriages.
But today all He is asking is for us to speak “gracious words” to each other.
How do you speak to your spouse? Is it to build up or to destroy? Let’s “BEE” intentional in our pursuit of wisdom and speaking kindly to each other. The health of our marriage depends on it.