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Responding With Honeycomb and Health

19 Oct

Responding With Honeycomb and HealthI read it right before finishing preparations for a talk I was going to give to a group of moms at a local church. I was also in the middle of praying for my father and seeing how his cancer treatment went that day.

It was an unnecessary and petty distraction, a message sent with absolutely no other purpose than to make trouble where, as far as I knew, there wasn’t any to date. In my own personal book of boundaries, it crossed several lines, but more than that, there was no recognizable good intention within it. I’m limited in my perspective, obviously. I don’t have God’s eyes. From where I was sitting, however, it was right up there in the Book of the Absurd or Ridiculous, and it could have flamed old fires of aggravation.

Know that familiar scenario?

The one where other people want to stir our pot?  

Where they can’t leave well enough alone? 

Where they insert themselves somewhere they don’t belong?

This same scenario, with a few changed details and characters, has played itself out several times over my life. I’m sure from time to time we all encounter:

  • That difficult person at work, in the neighborhood, or even in our families
  • That toxic theme song of “how can we keep ourselves busy with getting in other people’s business”
  • That boundary crosser who doesn’t take “no” for an answer or respect our personal space or privacy

The details almost don’t matter.

We all run into these dynamics in our lives.

So, what do we do with those people who poke at us?

Well, my flesh response—the one where I don’t consult God at all and let anger rule me—would be to straighten that person out immediately! To make it a teachable moment. To let them know how they come across.

After all, I was put on this planet to set the wrong right, right?

Wrong.

But when we invite God into our lives, His Holy Spirit grabs that flesh response, questions it, and doesn’t let it slide, reminding us there’s a better way.

And, man, do I often want to ignore that prompting!

But there it is. The Spirit speaks. And when the Spirit of God speaks to our hearts, it always matches God’s Word.

Here’s what the Word of God tells me: 

Proverbs 16:21-24, ESV, King Solomon speaking

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.
The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Um, what now?

I’m to have a discerning heart?

Sweetness of speech?

Good sense?

Judicious speech?

Gracious words?

Who on earth wants to do that when people trample on our pride?

I can’t say that’s my first inclination. But the thing is, God’s Word is alive and active! When we obey a command, the results are as promised—at least when it comes to our own hearts.

The Bible says if I am cautious and sweet in my replies to difficult situations or people, I will be increasingly persuasive. That sounds pretty good!

I will draw from a fountain of life.

My words have the power to be sweet to someone’s soul—get this, including my own!—and healthy to their bodies!

I have a choice to offer them not only grace but health in the way I react.

Wow.

And really, on one of my days when I overreact, speak something catty, or aim a verbal dart at someone, don’t I want the same in return? Don’t I want their words to soothe my soul, bring down my angst, offer “health to my body”?

Usually people stirring up dissensions are either unaware that has become a pattern in their lives, or they are doing it to get a rise out of us. When we turn toward them with kindness, it defuses many a situation.

The fire that perhaps was within them from angst, disappointment, frustration, or anger no longer has oxygen feeding its source.

It either has to go elsewhere to keep it aflame, or it decides to stick around and enjoy the sweeter atmosphere of honeycomb and health.

Sometimes people will embrace our healthier patterns of response, and at other times, they will reject them, oblivious to the grace offered them, and move on to find another ring to box in.

That’s okay. Our command in the Scripture is to exercise self-control and to use words that bless and not condemn.

I struggle with this. Anger is an all-too-familiar first response for me.

Even so, I genuinely find that whenever I follow the wisdom of this Proverb, I walk in a “fountain of life,” and my heart, soul, and body all feel better. I’m not spun-up into a tight ball. I’m not crushed or defeated.

I am heartwise and peaceful, knowing I didn’t give negativity a chance to grow another head.

I didn’t soil the soul of another.

How can you take a challenging area of conflict or confrontation and respond with honeycomb and health?

It’s a powerful prescription for being able to walk away from an interaction peacefully, offer grace, and let go of the results.

*This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.

**It has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, and Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

 

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12 responses to “Responding With Honeycomb and Health

  1. Sharon

    October 19, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Bonnie, you have a way with your words that convicts me at the same time that I am inspired to follow God more closely. Yes, I don’t react well when injured or upset by others. I default to bitterness pretty quickly. I love those words from Solomon, though. What an antidote to our all-too-human reactions.

    Great word today.

    GOD BLESS!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      October 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks so much, Sharon! I have been struggling to get my blogs up lately. You encouraged me so much with that you said. I default to bitterness far too easily as well. Blessings, Friend!

      Like

       
  2. Hillary

    October 19, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    I also sometimes want to ignore the promptings, and I have done so. The results are not good when I am left to my own devices, and, unfortunately, I find I am often of late the one stirring up dissension, because I am in a fierce battle with my own fear right now, yielding to my emotions. I appreciate that you shared that Scripture passage and reflected on it so beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      October 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Oh, Hillary…thank you so much for your transparency. I really appreciate that. How I can relate to letting my emotions run wild and letting fear take the lead! Recently God showed me where I did that in excess, and it was damaging. I so get you! Blessings, my friend!

      Like

       
  3. aladyinfrance

    October 19, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I have grown in curbing my tongue. I rejoice that I have grown in that. But oooooooh Lord, sometimes it is hard. I love what you said about being put here on earth to straighten people out. (tongue in cheek of course). I think we are twin peas in a pod, my friend. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      October 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Sons of thunder, Jennie! (Daughters of thunder!). We’ll get there. Sanctification is a beautiful process. 🙂

      Like

       
  4. Ashley @ achildseyes

    October 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Wouldn’t the world be an entirely different place if we were ALL doing this? I guess we have to start small and lead by example (so hard!) Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      October 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Hi, Ashley….thanks for coming by Espressos of Faith! I agree…if we all did this most of the time, it would be awesome. I’m trying to learn to be better, but I have a long way to go! Blessings!

      Like

       
  5. Mary Collins

    October 19, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Bonnie,
    Love the way you smoothly guided us into looking at a worldly response to those who may irritate as opposed to the godly way to respond. Dripping with truth.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      October 22, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Love the “dripping with truth.” That made me smile, Mary!

      Like

       
  6. Andrea

    October 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    So good. I love the idea that sweet words are persuasive. Often I go about correcting or offering my point of view in the wrong way – with lecturing and a strong hand. When we offer sweetness and honey, a person feels safe enough to believe in what we have to say, and God uses that belief to change them. I need to practice this more (especially with my family members).

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      October 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      I used to feel like sweetness and honey was false and flattery, or manipulative in some way. Because I’m an East Coast girl with a mix of Philly and NYC in my attitude, I tend to be more abrasive at times. I never used to trust sweet; in fact, sweet people used to make me so nervous and distrusting. But I’m learning there is a biblical application of it, and I’m trying to tame my inner raw truth without compromising the honesty part but by making it more receivable.

      Like

       

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