Proverbs 25:11, NIV
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”
We all like to hear words that we like! But how do we respond when someone speaks a word to us which conflicts with what I want to do – advice, perhaps, which cuts right across the plans you had laid down for yourself?
It takes quite a lot of courage to speak a word of correction to someone, especially when you know it won’t be very well received. But if you really know that God is encouraging you to help someone by speaking truth into their lives, even if it’s unwelcome truth, what should you do?
This has happened to me on a number of occasions. Usually the very last thing I would want to do is risk damaging a relationship, by speaking out of turn. But if God is wanting us to speak His word to someone, then we are being disobedient to God and actually betraying the person to whom God wants us to speak, if we choose not to do so. It’s important that, if and when you do feel God is putting you in that situation, you really spend time with the Lord, asking Him to confirm that this is what He wants you to do. And then when you pluck up the courage to bring your word, it is vital that it is delivered with love and compassion, so that it can be an apple of gold to the recipient and not a stab in the back!
And so back to our first question, how should you respond if someone brings you such a word? Be gracious and thank the person, however much you either agree or disagree with what they have said. Then lay it before the Lord in the privacy of your own place of prayer. And ask Him to confirm to your own heart whether or not what has been said is true. And if it is a true word, then thank the Lord for it and in humility also thank the person who had the courage to bring a word in season to help you along life’s journey. A friend who speaks truth in love is worth a thousand friends who flatter but fail to tell you what you need to hear!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for those who have the courage to speak into my life. Help me to receive such words with gracious love and thanks and then pray through what has been said. And if, Lord, you give me a word for someone else, help me never to use it as a weapon against them, but to always share it with love. In Jesus’s Name. Amen.