‘A man of knowledge uses words with restraint.’ Proverbs 17:27 NIV
It’s not enough to have the right answers; you need the right approach. Good ideas and sound advice are wasted when you use a ram-it-down-your-throat approach. Wisdom means saying the right thing, at the right time, in the right way. ‘A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.’ Your efforts at helping someone to change will fail, or worse, alienate them, unless you approach them in love and humility. Most people already know what their problem is. Chances are they’ve been grappling with it for a while, and deep down they want to do better. And unless you’re prepared for a ‘Who-are-you-to-tell-me’ response, you’ve got to approach them in the right way. ‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’(Proverbs 16:24 NIV) Jesus said, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32 NIV) So, if people won’t receive the truth in the way you’re sharing it, maybe the problem is partially yours. Former U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson writes: ‘You can offer your ideas to people as bullets or as seeds. You can shoot them or sow them. Ideas used as bullets kill inspiration and motivation. Ideas used as seeds take root, grow, and bear fruit in the life in which they are planted. But there’s a risk: once it becomes part of those in whom it’s planted, you’ll probably get no credit for originating the idea. But if you’re willing to do without the credit… you’ll reap a rich harvest.’ So the word for you today is: take the right approach.