Bacon and eggs. Shoes and socks. Tom and Jerry. Some things in life are just better together than they are alone. Wisdom and kindness are two such things.
One day, not long ago, I turned onto our private gravel road. I took the turn a little fast, not dangerously so, but fast enough to be hard on our privately maintained road.
About halfway down the road, a woman stopped me and asked why I turned so quickly and proceeded to lecture me as to the importance of taking good care of the road.
She was right, of course, but her approach made me bristle. For all she knew, I was heading home to an emergency with one of my children. Though what she said was wise, her approach didn’t encourage me to follow her wisdom. I wanted to rebel. For the record, I’ve been careful about my turns ever since.
Proverbs 31:26 says,
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Our heroine knew the importance of speaking with wisdom and speaking it with kindness.
First, let’s look at wisdom. Where does it come from? Proverbs 15:33 says “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,” and 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 says,
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Our wisdom comes from Jesus himself. So to have wisdom, we must first have a relationship with Him. We must know the Bible. We must judge our thoughts and words against the truth in scripture.
That’s a pretty big obligation.
Fortunately, James 1:5 says,
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
I love that God gives us wisdom generously and without reproach. We never have to feel stupid when we ask God for wisdom. He is glad to give it.
But what happens when we speak words of wisdom without kindness? Too often it drives people away from Christ, the source of our wisdom.
It’s like my example above. My neighbor was absolutely correct in what she ways saying, but her harsh manner of delivery almost obscured her message.
The Proverbs 31 woman knew that she needed to season her wisdom with kindness. People listened to her, because they felt she had their best interests at heart, even when the message might have stung a little.
As a parent, I’ve seen the difference. When I’m tired and cranky and harshly admonish my four year old for jumping on the couch, I frequently receive a tantrum in return. But when I gather my four year old in my arms and explain that I don’t want her to jump on the couch because I don’t want her to fall off and get hurt, more often than not, she agrees to stop jumping.
Ladies, if we want to influence the world for Christ, we must speak wisdom. We must not compromise the truth. However, we must present our God-given wisdom with kindness. When we come across as self-righteous, hypocritical know-it-alls, rest assured, people will walk away from the Christ we proclaim.
But when we present God’s wisdom with humility and kindness, others may not agree with us. But they are more apt to listen. And listening produces dialogue. And through dialogue, by God’s grace, some may come to know Jesus. And that’s the ultimate goal of wisdom, right?
If you’re new to the Proverbs 31 series, start here.
For the next post in the series, click here.