July 5, 2009
The tongue can bring death or life (v.21).
READ: Proverbs 18:15-21
My grandmother’s funeral provided the perfect opportunity to tell my great-aunt and uncle how much I appreciated them. When my grandmother had become a single parent, they had stepped in and included my young father in their family, taking him along on vacations and raising him as one of their own. So with tears in my eyes I thanked them for their contribution to my life.
“My brothers and I are part of your legacy,” I said. “We were raised by a loving father because of you.” “Thank you,” they replied, “That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to us.”
I will always treasure that moment, and I am glad that I thanked them while they were still living. But I wonder why I don’t share words of blessing more often. Why must I wait for a funeral before I deliver a “eulogy” (a compound term which means “good word”)?
Proverbs reminds us that our words hold the power of life and death (18:21), for “an encouraging word cheers a person up” (12:25) and “the words of the wise bring healing” (12:18). Solomon adds that “a word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (25:11 NIV).
If words are so powerful—and who can say that they are not—then let us commit ourselves to swallowing the biting humor that bruises, the careless words that cut, and share only those thoughts that refresh and nourish the soul. Let’s say only good words, and since “eulogy” is too closely associated with funerals, let’s call them “bon mots” (its French equivalent, which sounds deliciously like bonbons).
How many bon mots will you share today? Pass them out like French sweets to those you live and work with, and write some of them down, so they can be savored long after the moment is past. —Mike Wittmer
Is the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” true? Who needs a bon mot from you? Why?