BY KELLY NEW (Pastoral Intern)
“GRACIOUS WORDS ARE A HONEYCOMB, SWEET TO THE SOUL AND HEALING TO THE BONES.”
PROVERBS 16:24 (NIV)
The Lunar New Year celebrations have just ended for most of us, and while it might have been one of the quietest ones we have had, phrases like “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (HAPPINESS) and “Chu Ru Ping An” (PEACE) remained as popular greetings during this joyous season. Indeed, the exchange of kind words are the easiest to say when the mood is right but what happens when things go wrong? Which words do we use when faced with a fight-or-flight situation?
In schools, one of the most common rules you would see on the classroom walls looks like this. It serves as a constant reminder for our children to think before they speak, to always choose kind words that would build others up and not tear others down. Similarly, we are commanded to love one another and love is kind. So, in many ways, the “THINK” method resonates with the verse that in “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15).
Benjamin West, a famous American painter, said that if it were not for his mother’s response on his first messy painting of his sister, he would not have persevered and succeeded in art. Her words of encouragement proved to be the gentle tongue that flourished into a tree of life (Proverbs 15:4). As a parent, I find it increasingly challenging to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19) as my children test the boundaries and explore this fallen world. Yet when we stop to listen, empathise and speak gently with them, even in their most unlovable moments, we obey Jesus’ commandment (John 13:34-35) to love one another.
Let us remember that God entrusted our family, our friends, our co-workers and strangers to us, so that we may live out what it means to be Jesus’ disciples. May we always be gracious in our speech (Colossians 4:6), our thoughts and our deeds. Amen.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.”
EPHESIANS 4:29 (NIV)