“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
The words came tumbling out of my mouth like boulders in a rock slide barreling down a sharp cliff. One by one, they rolled off my tongue toward their unsuspecting victim: my dear husband.
In front of my kitchen sink, I stood tall upon my list of grievances: the leftover coffee cups forming a community on our bathroom counter, the clothes piled on the floor beside the laundry basket, and the dishwasher he forgot to start … yet again.
On and on I droned when suddenly a sound interrupted my self-righteous rant:
The kitchen faucet that had remained silent during my tirade gently spoke up to remind me that “a quarrelsome wife is like [a] constant dripping” (Proverbs 19:13, NIV). My lips merged into a guilty grin as I thought, Holy Spirit, why do You have to call me out like that?!
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Personally, the sweetest words I’ve ever heard are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus tasted the bitter wrath of God on my behalf so my soul could taste the sweetness of His grace. And because I’ve been saved by grace, I’m called to live and speak with grace.
But why do I so easily fall short of this calling and speak words dripping with sarcasm, anger or an unquenchable desire to be right?
Well, like most of my troubles, it begins inside my heart. Luke 6:45 warns, “out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (ESV). So the ungracious thoughts I’ve secretly stored inside will eventually make their way toward my mouth, spilling over onto unsuspecting family and friends or the neighbor I’m called to love.
That day in the kitchen was no exception. My ungracious words flowed directly from the thoughts and grumblings that had been stirring inside my heart over the previous days and weeks. I’d been exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious. And instead of focusing on all the wonderful things my husband does for our family, I’d been focusing on minor irritations I could’ve easily overlooked.
Friend, does your heart ache just like mine when you wish you’d been more careful with your words? No one wants to be the wife, mom, family member or friend who is quarrelsome or uncharitable toward others in thought or speech.
We desire to make our homes sanctuaries of safety from the harshness of this world. Yet we are fallible and prone to weariness, making us vulnerable to taking out our frustrations on the ones we love most.
Speech sweetened with grace will only overflow from a heart overwhelmed by God’s grace. Therefore, our only hope is to approach God’s throne of grace daily with confidence, (Hebrews 4:16) trusting Him to flood our hearts with the mercy and grace we desperately need.
Faces lift, shoulders soften and hearts heal when gracious words are spoken. Today, may we let God’s grace wash over our souls so our speech will be healing and sweet, drenching others with the love of Christ we have first received.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times my speech has caused hurt instead of healing. Please set a guard over my lips. If I must speak hard truths, may they be dripping with Your grace — healing and sweet to any soul who hears. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 103:8, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (ESV)
Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (ESV)
Do you believe God’s mercy and grace is a well that never runs dry, not only for others but also for you?
How is God calling you to rest in His grace so you can freely give it away to others today?
We’d love to hear how God is speaking to your heart! Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
© 2023 by Beth Knight. All rights reserved.
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