“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
It was one of those afternoons with a thousand commitments. The kids and I loaded the van with the snacks and bags and strollers we’d need in order to make the most out of our trip into town. The first stop would be to drop off our 13-year-old at ballet. We’d swing back around at the end of our excursions to pick her up. She was bringing a change of clothes, so she could go right from ballet to attend a volleyball game with our church youth group. After the little ones were buckled into their seats, she climbed into the passenger seat, squished her ballet bag between her feet, piled her clothes on the center console, and stashed a brush and a handful of hairpins on her lap. She’d fix her hair into a ballet bun during the 20-minute drive to the studio.
I had a million things on my mind. It wasn’t until we were a solid 10 minutes down the road that I finally exhaled and settled into the stretch of country road connecting our farmhouse with town. I glanced over at my daughter. The visor mirror was open, and she was gathering her hair into a pony tail, holding a few hairpins between her teeth. I asked if she had everything she needed for ballet and money for the game. “Mmm hmm,” she mumbled through the hairpins. Then, I looked at the clothes that she brought for the game.
“That’s what you’re going to wear to the volleyball game?” I asked with disappointment in my voice. “With those shoes?” I added. “They don’t match very well.”
With a quiver in her voice, she replied, “Well it’s too late now.” She was winding a hairnet over her bun and her eye brows furrowed in concern. I could tell she felt crushed. She couldn’t make any changes to her outfit even if she wanted to, and I couldn’t help her to improve the situation. I had backed her into a corner with no good options. The remainder of the ride was tense. No matter what I said to make up for my comments she went to that volleyball game knowing that she was wearing an outfit – down to the shoes – that her mom didn’t like.
That day, I made a note to myself that I hope to use the rest of my life: don’t offer feedback when there is no hope for improvement. If I want to help my daughter create coordinated outfits, I need to offer that feedback when we are standing in front of her closet with plenty of time on our hands. Imagine how much better our car ride would have been if I would have kept my mouth shut about the outfit. Better yet, imagine how wonderful it would have been if I had enriched my daughter with uplifting words like, “You are going to be such a light at that volleyball game. I love that you are kind to people who need a friend.”
Wisely-timed words infuse a person with hope, but poorly timed words drive a deep wedge between people. They divide mother and daughter, husband and wife, boss and employee, ministry leader and volunteer. When a woman is foolish about her words, she can cause her dearest people to feel criticized, torn down, and discouraged.
Here’s the amazing thing: when we are wise about our everyday words, we reflect the beauty of the gospel. After all, when we were dead in our sin with no way to change our circumstances, God did not simply proclaim our guilt and walk away. We would have been doomed, without hope. On the contrary, when God judges a sinner, He always does so by offering a strong arm of salvation and an open door of repentance. “Jesus” is God’s word fitly spoken, filling us with vitalizing hope. May you and I—women who are so perfectly loved— share God’s love through our words—wisely timed, lovingly spoken, and full of hope.
About the Author:
Laura loves to share practical applications of the Bible as she encourages women in their walk with Jesus. She received a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in English Literature from the University of Richmond, an M.A. in English Literature from Penn State University, and a Certificate in Women’s Ministry from Westminster Theological Seminary. Laura serves as the Coordinator of Women’s Ministry at Oakwood Presbyterian Church in State College, PA. She lives with her husband and 5 (going on 6) children on a beautiful farmette in Pennsylvania where they raise some chickens, host campfire parties, read lots of books, and cheer for the Nittany Lions. Connect with Laura at www.LauraBooz.com.