The Harmony of Heart and Tongue
As a young boy, I have to admit it, I love to talk. My school teacher used to call me a “chatterbox.” Back then, I thought my gift of talking was a result of feeling lonely and not having many people to truly converse with. Little did I know that words hold immense power, and their impact goes far beyond mere conversation.
The Gift of Speech and its Purpose
Elihu, a young and passionate speaker in the book of Job, also understood the significance of words. In Job 36, he emerges two-thirds into his grand speech, claiming to share wisdom from God. He pleads, “Wait for me a little, and I will show you that there is yet more to be said in God’s behalf.” Elihu was the youngest among Job’s friends who had gathered to provide comfort and support during Job’s trials. Patiently, he waited his turn to speak, diligently preparing his words to offer guidance and insight.
Listening with Empathy and Speaking with Wisdom
In a world filled with chatter, it’s essential to discern the intention behind our words. Elihu’s example reminds us that speaking isn’t merely about sharing our thoughts, but about empathizing with others and sharing wisdom rooted in truth. While Elihu spoke with conviction, his approach revealed a crucial lesson: effective communication involves both speaking and listening.
As Elihu conversed with Job, he demonstrated the importance of addressing a person’s heart rather than just their arguments. Like an eager apprentice, he wielded his words like a Jedi, aiming to bring unity but causing division. Instead of seeking common ground, Elihu, used facts about God to undermine Job’s assertions that he was innocent.
Balancing Truth and Love
Elihu’s words hold a valuable lesson for us today. The accuracy of his details was undermined by the way he applied them. Just like him, we might find ourselves armed with facts and truth, yet our manner of communication can make all the difference. It’s possible to be right in what we say, yet wrong in how we say it.
Scripture guides us in this aspect, reminding us of the delicate balance between truth and love. In Ephesians 4:15 (NASB1995), we read, “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” This verse encourages us to couple our truthful expressions with genuine love and compassion, creating a harmonious blend that nurtures understanding.
Application of Wisdom: Speaking Life and Encouragement
How can we apply these insights to our daily lives? Here are a few practical ways:
- Empathetic Listening: Take time to genuinely listen to others. Let them express themselves before offering your perspective. Proverbs 18:13 (NASB1995) advises, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.”
- Measured Words: Consider your words carefully, ensuring they uplift and inspire. Proverbs 16:24 (NASB1995) states, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
- Unity in Diversity: Embrace differing opinions while maintaining a spirit of unity. Romans 12:16 (NASB1995) encourages, “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”
- Graceful Correction: When offering correction or advice, do so with humility and grace. Galatians 6:1 (NASB1995) reminds us, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”
Elihu’s passion for speaking truth can serve as a valuable lesson for us. Let us strive to use our words as instruments of encouragement, wisdom, and love. By focusing not only on what we say but also on how we say it, we can truly make a positive impact on those around us. May our conversations be filled with grace, empathy, and a genuine desire to uplift others, just as God intended.