Sunday, May 26, 2013

[Matt's Messages] "Good Words" Proverbs 25:11

“Good Words”
The Tongue of the Wise - Spring 2013
May 26, 2013 :: Proverbs 25:11

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

“Aptly spoken” means the right word spoken at the right time.

Proverbs says that the right word at the right time is like “apples of gold in settings of silver.”

What is that talking about?

The King James Version translated this verse: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

I think it’s supposed to remind us of fine jewelry.

What is more precious than gold and silver?  And this is an apple made of gold, gold fashioned into an apple (or possibly an apricot, this word could mean either one) and laid in a silver setting.

What could be more precious?
What could be more valuable?
What could be more beautiful?
What could be more good?

Good words.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

The right word spoken at the right time is precious beyond belief.

We’ve all experienced that, haven’t we?

I got an email this week from a friend that include a one-sentence prayer for me.

And that prayer was exactly what I needed to hear that moment for what I was dealing with right then.

That one sentence prayer lifted my head when it was a little down.

That one sentence in a brief email was an apple of gold in a setting of silver.

Proverbs 10:20 says, “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.”

Notice the connection between the tongue and the heart.

“The tongue of the righteous is choice silver...” It’s good and valuable and beautiful and precious.

“...but the heart of the wicked is of little value.”  That’s where words come from. They come from the heart.

So good words come from good stored in the heart.

I don’t know about you, but I want to have a golden and silver heart.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Now that word might be a rebuke.

Look at verse 12.

“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.”

We talked about this verse a month ago.

Not all good words feel good at the time.

Sometimes, we need a good word to hurt us to in a smaller way to help us in a bigger way.

Sometimes, the good word is right-decision being made.

The phrase, “a word aptly spoken” in v.11 could be translated “an answer aptly spoken” meaning that this is not just any word being spoken, but an official word coming down from an authority.

We say, “Having the given a word on that yet?”

The 2011 NIV translates this verse, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.”

And if that’s correct, then this is the right word at the right time making the right decision.  The right call.

Don’t we all love it when that happens?

“I think they made the right call.”

As someone in leadership, it so encouraging when you hear someone say that.

“I think you made the right decision.”

“Good job! That’s an apple of gold in a setting of silver.”

However you translate this verse, I think it’s clear that there are some words that are just golden, just beautiful, just valuable and precious to hear when they are spoken at the right time.

God has given us an amazing gift of these precious words that have a powerful effect for good.

We’ve all seen the opposite. “A word poorly spoken is like trash on the highway.”

“Reckless words pierce like a sword!”  “But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Now, I’ve picked out to share with you four sets of words today that are some of the best, most beautiful, “good words” in the entire English language.

When these words are spoken at the right time in the right way, amazing things happen.

It doesn’t always seem like it. They are under-used words and under-appreciated words.

But I think they are apples of gold in settings of silver.

Let me share them with you.

#1. “I’M SORRY.”

See what I mean?

That’s a powerful set of words right there.

But they are not always easy to say.

When I was growing up, there was a television show that I just loved on Tuesday nights. It celebrated life in the 50's in a fictional Milwaukee neighborhood with wacky characters who were always getting into and out of trouble.

Officially, the name of the show was what?

“Happy Days” and the star was Ron Howard who played the main character–Richie Cunningham.

But Happy Days was not what my brother and I called the show.  And Richie Cunningham was not the most important character on the show, as far as we were concerned.

We called the show, “The Fonz.” Tuesday nights would roll around, and Andy and I would say, “The Fonz is on!  The Fonz is on!”  And we’d flip on the TV and enjoy Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli–The Fonz.

Do you remember the Fonz?  He was the coolest thing alive.  He had a closet full of white t-shirts that he would wear under a very cool, black leather jacket–which is now in the Smithsonian.

The Fonz could do just about anything.  He could get any girl he wanted to go out with him if he just snapped his fingers.  He could break a world record for jumping his motorcycle over barrels. He could turn on a jute-box by bumping it with his elbow–and it would always play the song he wanted!  Nobody could beat the Fonz in a fight.  And he never had a hair out of place!  Do you remember that?  Every time he’d come to the mirror, he’d get out his comb–check the hair–and then go, “Aaaa!”  (With his trade-mark thumbs in the air.)  Never a hair out of place.  Why he owned a comb, I don’t know!

But there was one thing the Fonz could NOT do.  Do you remember that?

There was one thing the Fonz could NOT do.  The Fonz could not apologize.

Every once in a while, Fonzi would mess up and do something wrong.  He would hurt one of his friends, Richie or Pottsie or Ralph Malph or somebody.  And he knew that he should apologize, but he just couldn’t bring himself to make an apology. (Do you remember this?)

He would go to the person and say to the person he had hurt, “Uhhh.  I was wrrrrrrrrr....  I was wrrrrrrr......  What I’m trying to say is I’m sssssssssss....  I’m sssssssssssss....”

The words just wouldn’t come out!  He just couldn’t say, “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry.”

It’s hard to bring ourselves to apologize–to say, “I’m sorry.”

In our personal relationships, apologizing is one of the hardest things to do.

But it’s vital for us to learn how. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

Now, that’s true in our vertical relationship with God, and it’s also true in our horizontal relationship with one another.

“I’m sorry.”

Learn to say that at the right time, and you will have learned some golden words.

Now, I’m not saying to apologize for things that you have not done. Please do not lie.

But in almost every relationship, there is something that we can to say, “I’m sorry” for.  And it does amazing things to a relationship.

“I’m sorry.”

Have you used those words this week?  I think they are hard to say because it involves humbling ourselves. But that’s what we need.  And God honors it!

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

“I’m sorry.”

Here’s #2. “I FORGIVE YOU.”

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

When you say, “I forgive you,” at the right time, it’s positively golden.

There is nothing more toxic to relationships than bitterness and unforgiveness.

I mean that.

We will all sin against one another in all of our relationships.

Marriage, for example, is the union of two sinners.

Two sinners are now joined to one another for life. The result of that will be sin!

But what happens after that sin is acknowledged and confessed after one person in the relationship says, “I’m sorry?”

If there is no “I forgive you,” then the fat lady may as well sing because it’s over.

Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

How did the Lord forgive you?

How many of us said, “I’m sorry” this week?

How many of us said, “I forgive you.” ?

We teach our kids to do that, but we all need it.

“I forgive you.”

Here’s #3. “THANK YOU.”

Those two little words are so powerful yet so unused by most people, including Christians.

When someone does something for you, no matter how small, it’s appropriate to say, “Thank you.”

When we don’t, it’s often a function of our pride again.

We feel like we deserve it, whatever it is.

Do you thank you server when you go out to eat?

Do you thank somebody who opens a door for you?

Do you thank somebody who passes the salt?

This is a good weekend to thank somebody who has served in our military.

They have defended us and defended our freedoms, and we should render our thanks.

Thank you, Veterans, for your service for our nation.

Kids, thank your parents.

Parents, thank your kids when they do something for you.

And we all should be thanking God.

Because all good gifts come from Him.

The Bible says that a lack of thanksgiving is at the root of all kinds of sin. Romans 1 says that “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

We refused to say, “Thank you.” to God and so much disaster has been the consequences.

Who do you need to thank today?

Say, “Thank you.” At the right time it’s an apple of gold in a setting of silver.

Can you guess the last one for today?

#4. “I LOVE YOU.”

Those are powerful words spoken at the right time to the right person in the right way.

Apples of gold in settings of silver.

“I love you.”

Don’t say it at the wrong time.

Don’t say it romantically until it’s the right person and you are in a position to do the right thing about it.  The Song of Songs says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

Don’t say it at the wrong time or to the wrong person.

But at the right time to the right person, it’s a word aptly spoken.

Husbands, tell your wives, “I love you.”  Don’t pull that stunt we talked about two weeks ago of saying of saying, “I told you I loved you when I married you and if that changes I’ll let you know.”

No. Tell her today. Tell her often. Tell her well.

Don’t just say it show it. But say it, too.

Wives, tell your husbands, “I love you.”

Parents tell your kids. “I love you.”

Don’t just say, “Love ya!”

Say it out all the way. “I love you.”

You can’t say it too much.  Those words don’t wear out.

Kids, say it to your parents.

Friends, say it (in appropriate times and ways) to your other friends.

I was talking to a pastor friend two weeks ago, and I ended our conversation with, “I love you, goodbye.”

That’s not weird.  Or least it shouldn’t be.

Siblings say it to siblings.

“I love you.”

We could add to this, “I trust you. I respect you. I appreciate you.”

Those are all forms of saying this sort of thing.

The point is to open our mouths and speak good words.

The world has enough bad words.

Christians should have mouths filled with good words.

The right word spoken at the right time in the right way in the right moment is astonishingly powerful, beautiful, valuable, and precious.

Proverbs 25:11, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Let’s have the tongue of the wise.

Let’s have tongues of silver and gold.


Messages in this Series:

1. The Fearsome Tongue
2. Sweet Words
3. Grumbling (Part One)
4. Grumbling (Part Two)
5. Praising Mom
6. Bad Words
7. Good Words