Higher thoughts: Right word, wrong way…

I am a strong proponent of minding your own business. There is no quicker way to stir up some drama than by offering up your opinion where it wasn’t asked for. The problem comes however when someone directly asks for your opinion. I found myself in this precarious position some time ago while sitting with a friend in KFC. She was planning to do something, which was stupid and immature, and asked me what I thought about it. Since she specifically asked, I specifically answered. A few moments later, after she finished shouting and stomping out of KFC and I was left sitting at the table alone, it occurred to me that maybe I may not have used the most appropriate words to tell her how I really felt.

I think at some point all of us have been guilty of saying the right thing in the wrong way. The content of our message may have been well-meaning, but the well-meaning ends up getting lost in the delivery. Solomon tells us the beauty of the right thing said in the right way: “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.” (Proverbs 25:11, The Message) It is important to cushion the words we speak – especially ones that may be seen as criticism – with gentleness and love. At the same time, we should always be willing to accept wise counsel, no matter the format in which it comes. The very next verse, Proverbs 25:12 says “And a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger”. Whether we are on the giving or receiving end, let us not let improper words ruin a proper message.

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