Thursday, January 26, 2012

Speak Appropriately

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." -Proverbs 25:11

Do you ever read proverbs like this one and wonder what it means? The other day we looked at a proverb that warned us of the consequences of lying. Today we're going to look at a proverb that encourages us to speak appropriately. Let's break this one down for a moment. The topic in this short proverb is 'a word fitly spoken'. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates this phrase as, "a word spoken at the right time". I think that conveys the idea of the text well. Solomon is describing appropriate speech.

A word spoken at the right time is like apples of gold. Both the fruit and the material are desirable things. Apples are sweet to the taste and pleasant to look at. Gold is a precious metal that is desired by many. A word spoken at the right time is as desirable as apples of gold. All who hear it will feel fulfilled and pleased. A word fitly spoken will be enjoyed by all who hear and considered as valuable.

Solomon goes on in his description of fitting words. Not only are they like apples of gold, he describes them as being 'in settings of silver.' I can't help but think that if I had something as valuable as an apple of gold I would not put it on a plain wood table or alone on some bookshelf. Something as valuable as that deserves to be placed in a valuable, beautiful setting of silver. An appropriate word will not only be pleasant to the ears, it will be spoken in the right setting.

Often, we commit to speaking the truth, but we fail to speak the truth at the right time. The truth can do a lot of damage if it isn't spoken and applied in the right situation. Let me ask you, are your words appropriate? Are they valuable and pleasing to those who hear? And are they spoken in the right setting? Commit to not only speaking truthful words, but also speaking truthful, appropriate words. Honor God with your speech and seek to build others up, imparting to grace to those who hear.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." -Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

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