by Harriett V. Bennett
“A house is built by wisdom, and becomes strong through good sense.”
Proverbs 24:3 (NLT)
“An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.”
Proverbs 24:26 (NLT)
I squeezed the phone as tight as I could, wanting to break it into a million pieces! I sat at the top of the basement stairs, wounded – wishing I was invisible – but—not. I was angry after that painful conversation I just got off of, holding on to someone I thought was for me. But more angry at myself that I didn’t even see that ‘left hook to the heart’ coming. I just wanted to wallow in self-pity for a bit. This was my wake up call.
I got up from the step, hung up the phone and stood numb in the kitchen. I heard my father in the living room fussing at the radio as if the baseball coaches could hear his reaction to a failed play. The game broke for commercials and he got quiet. Why couldn’t I be invisible and just pass by him unnoticed. I needed to go off the grid for a while.
I turned off the kitchen light and started walking towards him, trying to act like nothing was wrong. My Daddy could see through my pretense a mile away. I sat on the floor next to him and asked who was winning. “They may pull it off,” he emphasized, “if they don’t keep making the same mistakes.”
He knew I really didn’t care about the game, just trying to get my focus off my problem. I put my head on his lap and closed my eyes, trying unsuccessfully to fight back tears, murmuring “Why me, God— why the same mistakes?” Instinctively, he stroked my hair, offering the fatherly touch that his daughter so desperately needed right then.
He didn’t ask what was wrong, but said, “You’ll be alright, daughter. At your worst is when God does His best. You’ll learn that you can’t dance on every number. You’ll get through this and move on in time. So go ahead, baby — cry. And when you finish, know that I am still here.”
I don’t even remember who won the baseball game that night. All I remember is being comforted in the knowledge that everything was going to be alright — because my Daddy said so — and this was one man’s love — and word — that I knew was a sure thing. It was an excellent speech.**
One of the most direct paths to wisdom and godliness is learning excellent speech with a graciousness that comes from a pure heart.
Paul reminds us to let our speech be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, that we may know how we ought to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6). Our purpose is the building up of the hearer (Ephesians 4:29).
Do your words provide health to hearers, or do you leave them bleeding?
** Excerpt from “A Love Deferred” by H.V. Bennett available on www.amazon.com