Proverbs 16:23

The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

After the wise person speaks, his hearers believe they have heard someone who is fair and insightful. They benefit from his words; they admit where they have been wrong. Perhaps they were upset, and they walk away peaceful.

What happened? The wise person spoke from a heart that was right. The heart of the wise does not react; it responds. What I mean is that the wise does not give a knee-jerk reaction; he does not speak out of feelings of stress or feeling offended; rather he thinks through a matter, determining two things: what truly is at issue and how to communicate in such a way that wins a hearing. He is both just and persuasive.

Mishaps happen. How we respond to them determines whether these mishaps become opportunities for strengthening bonds or straining them. If we speak from an anxious or angry heart, we will strain relationships even as we think we are resolving matters. But if we speak judiciously (with careful thought) and speak persuasively (with the intent to win over our hearer), then the mishap turns into an occasion to build bridges and strengthen relationships.

What is your intent? To get people off your back? To get frustration off your chest? Then your words will be neither judicious nor persuasive. Your heart must be right. It’s desire must be to glorify God, to build up the body of Christ, and to love one’s neighbor, especially one’s Christian brother/sister.

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