Words. What of Words?
Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit of them."
Hmmm… so words (fruit) are offered either as sweet on the tree to be picked for a sustaining benefit and enjoyed, or words (fruit) are offered as having fallen from the tree and laying on the ground rotting and the only thing they give are as a sickness.
In the bible study our Lifegroup is doing we were right smack in the middle of the week on Words of Affirmation. We were studying and learning how the words we use and say can make a huge difference in the temperature of our relationships, and how the effects of offering words that lift up and encourage those in our life can heal and not wound, and create intimacy and not distance.
Hubs and I were doing our homework and we got to a section where in the margin of one page it referenced Proverbs 16:24… “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” And over the next couple of days my mind kept going back to that verse and I wondered each time, why ‘honeycomb’? It would not let me go.
So I begin to dig a little, and some things I found really began to speak to me.
In 1638 physicist and philosopher Galileo wrote about the design of the honeycomb, and the hollow solid design and strength of the honeycomb. He said “Art, and nature even more, makes use of these in thousands of operations in which robustness is increased without adding weight, as is seen in the bones of birds and in many stalks that are light and very resistant to bending and breaking”.
I also saw where the honeycomb structure has even been applied to the construction of things like airplane materials like steel panels, rocket sub structures, etc.
So the light went on – for words of affirmation to be compared to honeycomb was very intentional and specific. God inspired something in that passage to mean something even more purposeful today!
To start with I looked up some information on bee keeping. What I found was that the honeycomb, if not damaged by a beekeeper, can and will be used over and over again by the bee for making honey. I didn’t know that, did you?
Words can really stick with someone. Just as words that wound do, sweet words of affirmation can be remembered and give courage to someone for a lifetime. Can’t we all recall even from childhood both good and bad things people have said? I would rather someone recall feeling stronger and loved by my words. Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” When grace is given it is ongoing, I want my words to be something that echoes goodness and sweetness. I want those I love to be able to go back continually to the things I speak into them over and over for a renewing.
I also was intrigued that this design of the honeycomb can be used in steel plates of an airplane and rocket ship but then can fly through the air. Galileo said that the honeycomb design can be seen in nature, inside some plant stalks that are extremely light but that this strong design allows them in most cases to bend but not break.
WOW! Our words can give the person hearing them strength in tough times to bend and not break! Think about it, if you believe someone thinks you can stand and has poured into you the affirmation of that – isn’t it easier to try? To believe you actually can? The things I may choose to speak into someone’s life can either be something that keeps them from having the confidence to even try, or they can give them the courage and strength to overcome - to fly!
Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
(Pardon the cheese, but don’t you want to be the wind beneath their wings?)
Proverbs 16:24… “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Continually offering the sweetness and strength to sustain life through its naturally healing power. Oh that I would offer only healing and life, not condemning and destruction. That I would only build up and not tear down.
God, thank you, that we are created with the ability to communicate with one another thru the spoken word. Thank you that we can share your Word and your promises in that way, speaking your truth and life into those around us.
Help me today and every day to choose to offer life and not death with my tongue. I want to offer something that over and over brings sweetness just like the honeycomb. I want to impart strength and confidence with what I say. Father I pray that things that I have said that have brought sadness, anger, hurt, and bitterness to those I love would be forgiven. Your Word in Matthew 12 says that “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”. Give me your heart! May things I have said that encouraged and soothed wounds be remembered. Remind me of the sweet promises you have left me to go to whenever I need them - in times of trouble and in times of joy. May I seek to leave behind words of life sustaining sweetness that others can go to time and time again to know their true worth, value, and gifting… to remember who they really are in your Son Jesus!