Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but Words can never hurt me

     I was thinking just now about ways others encourage me in my walk with the Lord.  A few days ago my good friend Lynn and I were talking over lunch.  She took me out belatedly for my birthday.  We always have a great time, and we laugh a lot, but I appreciate when a friend is “iron sharpening iron.” “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17) 
    
     Lynn is the kind of person who by her very life encourages you to speak wise words.  She doesn’t want a flippant answer, or to hear what the world has to say about it–when she shares something heart to heart and leans forward and asks, “What do you think?”  she wants to know what you think in light of Scripture.  “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” (Proverbs 15:28)


     Are you able at a time like that to share something you read that morning?  Or do you have to think back a ways because you haven’t been spending much time in the Word lately?  I love how the Holy Spirit brings to your mind a verse or chapter. He brings a verse to mind at just the right moment.  Whether it be during a conversation with a friend, or while training your children day by day, or when you have an opportunity to talk to someone about the Lord. 


     I’ve been working more on memorization. Something that’s helped me is to have a musical alarm on my phone set for a certain time during my Quiet Time and when it goes off, I spend a few minutes going over my memory verses.  I try to memorize the reference with the verse, because it is helpful when sharing with someone, to be able to open up your Bible and turn to the verse with the person and even have them read it for themselves. It’s no fun to have to say I know it’s in there somewhere, and it says something like this, which I’ve had to do too many times. Sometimes I carry my Bible with me in my car, but it’s much handier to have a smaller Bible in your purse or bag when you go out.  I’ve appreciated when we’ve been talking over lunch and Lynn has reached into her purse and pulled out her Bible and we’ve looked up the verses we were talking about. 
    
     I’ve been saddened by times when friends have gotten together and spent their time complaining!  It’s as though they want to one-up the other in showing “how bad life is!”  What does that say about the Lord and His mercies.  How can we say, “Great is thy faithfulness!” and act like that.  Beware of those whose habit it is to complain and beware of it yourself.  I admit to falling into that dreadful habit at times, but we must not let it stay. “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:2)


     Especially sad is to hear a wife complaining about or belittling her husband.    Psalm 15 talks about our words against someone behind their back, but also warns against listening to a bad report.  “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.


He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor…He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”  (“taketh up” means receiveth, or endureth. ) Psalm 15:1-3, 4b 
We must never do that.  We need to be loyal, and love our husbands as we want to be loved by them, always putting them in the best light before others.  Give a good report, not a bad one.  “…whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think (and talk) on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)  If a friend starts complaining about her husband, or begins to give a bad report, we can tactfully change the subject, or say an encouraging word on  his behalf.  And we can be a good example by our own speech.  We need to be loyal to our children, as well.  Let’s be careful how we talk to others about our children.


     We can be ready to share truth from God’s Word with our friends. Other advice and counsel can be very helpful for the time, and practical, but Scripture goes beyond that, because it’s God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit uses it in our hearts and applies it supernaturally. God’s Word does not return void. (Isaiah 55:11)  “…the words of the pure are pleasant words.” (Proverbs 15:26)
“The lips of the wise disperse knowledge…” (Proverbs 15:7)