Before I get started with today’s post, I need to mention something about the flash fiction challenge that we just finished up. A very important part of that challenge is the feedback given to recipients, but I’ve been hearing that some of you haven’t given the feedback to your partners. I know that I, too, have been guilty; I haven’t gotten to my feedback yet (sorry, Jessi and Katie!). I haven’t forgotten about it, though. Please, if you haven’t gone to both of your partners’ stories and given them solid feedback, do so now. That’s what makes this challenge worthwhile.
Proverbs 16:21 “The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.”
You can have the best thing to say, but, if you say it poorly, people won’t listen. And even pleasant-sounding words are no good with bad intentions. Giving criticism should never be about the pride of the giver; it should always be for the genuine benefit of the hearer. And take care with your words and tone; they can mean everything.
Proverbs 17:14 “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
Especially as Americans, we can get rather uptight about “our rights.” And while there are certainly times when something needs to be said, there are other times when peace is far more important than our perceived injustice. No one likes a quarrelsome person. Don’t go picking fights.
Proverbs 18:2 “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
This whole chapter is a warning about the tongue. Fools run their mouths without any understanding, wanting to be the center of attention and to hear themselves speak. The wise, however, listen and understand before saying anything. They say what’s pertinent, and they don’t seek to dominate the conversation. I need much more wisdom in my speech.
Proverbs 19:2 “Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!”
All the enthusiasm in the world directed along a stupid course is still stupidity. God has given us energy, zeal, excitement, passion, etc., but we must submit it to his purpose. Misplaced zeal is so easily destructive. However, passion directed along God’s path is immensely powerful.
Proverbs 20:3 “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
It’s easy to look for people’s faults. We all tend to do it naturally. But that doesn’t glorify God, and it drives a wedge into our interactions with others. We need to look at the world through God’s eyes, not rising to every provocation but rather blessing at every opportunity.
So, what do you think of these verses? Let me know in the comments!