Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Proverbs 18:21-24 -- On Language and Friendship

"A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.
The poor useth entreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
Proverbs 18:21-24

The first two verses seem to go together. Before this, the chapter talks briefly about the dangers of offending someone, and this perhaps relates to that.  If we speak with kindness and show ourselves friendly (as in the final verse), then we'll have a feeling of satisfaction with ourselves rather than guilt and anxiety.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Literally, yes, on a jury or as a judge, and figuratively.  Our words can build up or tear down other people, and if we love people, and life, and the skill of using language for good, then again, going back to the first verse of the selection, we'll be satisfied with the fruit of our actions.
Communication can help us with other relationships too... like finding a wife or husband.  We need to remember to be humble when we develop communication strategies, and resist the temptation to dismiss people because we think we are better.  Speaking roughly to anyone probably isn't a good thing, even if we can get away with it because of wealth or position.  If we want to have friendships, we need to be friendly, and if we are kind and good to people, then we can build relationships that are as close or closer than some family relationships.
To me, the point in all of this is that people matter.  God wants us to remember that.  Sometimes we get so far into our selfishness bubble that we think that people are disposable, or replaceable.  That this or that person doesn't matter, and we don't mind burning bridges behind us.  And if we have done that... it's understandable.  It's life, and we all have made mistakes in relationships and hurt people we shouldn't have.  But today, let's repent.  Let's make sure we don't go back to being that type of person again.  Let's nurture the relationships that we still have.  Let's heal where we have hurt, wherever possible.  Let's be kind and good and not use people or take them for granted.  Let's take God's advice, and show ourselves friendly. :)

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