“Sweetness of Speech Increases Persuasiveness”

everyday-talkIn preparing for my Sunday morning message this week, I was helped by John A. Younts little book Everyday Talk. Younts encourages parents to speak intentionally to their children, depositing in them spiritual truths in the milieu of real life. One of the passages with which he encourages parental communication is Proverbs 16:20-24:

Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. 21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. 22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. 23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. 24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Pastors and parents would do well to note that “sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” We’re prone to think that the best way to get a point across is to “unload” on people. According to this passage, that’s not the case. Younts notes that parental instruction should be received—and given!—like a beautiful piece of jewelry (Prov 1:8-9). Too often we give pastoral or parental counsel like a two-by-four to the side of the head instead.

Are there times when a stern rebuke is in order? Sure. I’m not calling for cowardice or Pollyanna sweetness. However, the old adage that “You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar” seems to have biblical backing from the book of Proverbs.

Dad, try some gracious words with your teen next time, especially since shouting and sarcasm aren’t having the desired effect.


4 Responses

  1. I learned how to conduct interpersonal relationships in the military. Negative reinforcement is the name of the game there.
    Much to my dismay, when I got out, I found out it doesn’t work with most civilians, nor does it work in the ministry and although I am new to parenting I know it will not always work there either.
    Its funny how we have to learn things the hard way when Scripture has already pointed out the way it should be done.

  2. The God of Pulpit
    The Passover given to Israel was upgraded and given to all mankind becoming the communion of Christ with His church. His body becoming the unleavened bread and his blood which covers all those who will simply receive his gift which is the new covenant (covering). Exodus 12, Mark 14
    God’s covering is designed to prepare his people for action. The action defined and lived out in daily life is God’s love flowing from lives that listen and look for ways to participate in the divine nature (love). It’s a walk of faith for imperfect people whose hearts are changed and have desire to live their new life from the inside out. Romans: 12 1-2 they having received His covering now submit their lives to the author of life and love. In other words they seek to care about the things that matter most. This is their spiritual worship to care the way Jesus cares and to follow His example and daily leading. They want to care thus having all the dullness of superficial life removed to enjoy true fellowship, love, hope, and great joy. The food and drink provided in the new upgraded covenant is available daily to any who would desire to come and partake.
    So why this blog is is called the “God of Pulpit”? Because preaching like any ministry should be the result of ministers living life from the inside out. It’s the word of god mixed with the life of the preacher.
    If we think sermons will change the world without all of this we deceive ourselves. Pulpits should be a place to let real inner life surface in humility, love, and JOY. Its part of the threads of life God is weaving into our lives and an opportunity to get what is on the inside out to people who need to eat to grow strong and healthy. When people hear and see the message (the preacher) they should line up.
    God of pulpit is a name I gave ego eccentrics who truly think their mission is life is to share their golden tongue. They think that somehow having their hearts set upon the Christ doesn’t matter as much as using their gift of monologue. God of pulpit is another form of worldly lust that seeks to exalt itself over its maker. The fallen golden tongues are all around us but thankfully many have seen the error of their ways and have chosen to take back the joy of their salvation and love people. Many preach again but what a difference in the message!
    So preachers before you approach that pulpit remember to care about what the people need to see in your life more than in your words. Follow love under the covering of the Savior and give the people real meat.

  3. […] Proverbs 16:20-24.  Below the passage are a couple of his comments.  You can read his full post here. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. 21 […]

  4. […] I can amen Chris Anderson’s Sweetness of Speech Increases Persuasiveness. […]

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