When I first started practicing law, we lived in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We lived in Oklahoma for five wonderful years. I loved the people I worked with and the friends I met. People are just “real” in Oklahoma. Another thing I love about Oklahoma is the way people talk. I picked up the best phrases! One of the phrases I like is, “she just loves to stir the pot!” (insert a little southern twang). Today’s Proverbs help us decide whether to stir the pot or spread the honey:
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” ~Proverbs 16:24
“A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.” ~Proverbs 16:28
At this point, I think that I could just write, “enough said!” and be finished with today’s post. Right? It’s pretty clear what God thinks about “stirring the pot.” Perverse and slanderer are strong words. Perverse in my Bible dictionary (the Concordance) means “corrupt,” and slanderer means “defamer” or to say something that’s not true about someone. In last week’s Wednesday Wisdom, we learned about “strife” and why it’s dangerous to meddle in the disagreements of others. This week, this passage about strife jumped out at me. Once again, God is telling us through His Word that He doesn’t like it when we get involved in a way that is not helpful.
As I was contemplating today’s post, a friend brought verse 24 to my attention. See the passage just a few lines above God’s warning: if we speak pleasant words, those words can be sweet to the soul and healing to a person. Each day brings many opportunities for us to decide whether to stir the pot (spread the strife) or spread the honey (speak pleasant words).
Sometimes, I spread the strife without even thinking about it. A conversation just starts and soon enough we are talking about someone and I am putting my two cents into the mix. Before you know it, the conversation is heating up. Stir, stir, stir.
But, I find that if I allow myself to listen to a small voice deep inside, there is a warning bell going off. If I listen, I usually try to exit the conversation or stir it in another direction. The best idea would be not to start stirring at all, but sometimes it happens. I am working on making sure that my words are chosen more carefully. I am going to be more intentional about making sure that I am not stirring the pot! I plan to print the honey picture from this post and put it up at work to remind me to be on watch with my words. I want to be someone known for spreading the honey ~ don’t you?
3 Ideas to Help You Spread the Honey by Speaking Pleasant Words:
- Put reminders in several places. I’m guessing you are like me and don’t usually intend to get involved in pot stirring, but it just happens. So, we need some way to remind ourselves throughout our day to think before we speak. Put up post-it notes, put a picture on your phone, or write a note on your mirrors.
- Spend time reading the Proverbs each day. There are 31 Proverbs, so I read the Proverb for the date on the calendar. Today, I read Proverb 18. Proverbs are packed solid with reminders to guard our tongue and watch our words.
- Walk away. When you get that feeling in your gut that a conversation is negative and not going in a helpful direction, step away from it. Go use the restroom instead. Maybe it sounds silly to you, but this is one way I often use to step away from a conversation. I drink a lot of water, so I usually have to go anyways and it just works (don’t judge me!).
Let’s Talk About It:
So maybe my bathroom trick isn’t for you. How do you exit a conversation?
What ideas do you have for stopping the “pot-stirring” conversation before it begins?
What ideas do you have for how we can spread more honey and healing in our daily lives?