As a pastor and church leader for twenty years, I have come to believe that many of our problems come back to this—we just don’t know how to talk to people. I am often amazed to sit in a room with a group of people who all agree on the basic fundamentals of an issue and all hope to see the same end result, but who cannot seem to come to an agreement on even the simplest of details. Their words are swords, clinking and clanking on the battlefields of each others’ emotions. Selfish pride are their protective shields and snappy, hurtful shots are daggers in each others’ sides. In the end, relationships lay slain on the ground and not one has advanced his or her cause.
“A person’s gift opens doors for him, and brings him before the great.”
Solomon, the wise king and author of this ancient proverb, was well accustomed to its truthfulness. The king is busy and often inaccessible to common folk. But those who brought a good gift found an open door. The verse reads, “opens doors for him,” but literally translates, “makes room for him.” The king made room for gift-givers in his busy schedule. Even the greatest of men and women are honored by a simple gift. And a simple, thoughtful gift unlocks and opens up doors that may be otherwise off limits.
This does not only apply physically, but conversationally as well. The way you speak to people can communicate either that you have something to tell them or that you have something you’d like to give them. Paul, in Ephesians 4:29, instructs the Christian that his or her words are to “give grace to those who hear.” “Grace” in Greek (charis) literally means “gift.” The words that come from our mouths should be giving good gifts to their hearers.
Sharp words sever good relationships. Gracious words heal broken relationships. Can you imagine how your social life would change—both in person and online—if you appropriated this ancient wisdom in every conversation? To take your conversational life to the next level, start this today. Every word from your mouth should be a gift to the hearer. That does not mean you should shy away from truth, but rather, that the truth can always be delivered in a package of grace. Sometimes good gifts are things you want. Sometimes good gifts are things you need. Grace without truth is not biblical, but neither is truth without grace. Just give it a try today–every word a gift. And watch how this ancient wisdom will open doors for you and bring you before the great.
Grace and Peace,
P.S. This is an excerpt from my book “Going Social: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Relationships,” a contemporary commentary and devotional walking verse by verse through Proverbs Chapter 18. For more info or to purchase, CLICK HERE.