23. Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
Proverbs 15:23 NLT
Today’s Passage taken out of context could potentially be used to sanction a harsh comeback when someone talks slick to us. However, if we look at this Verse from the perspective of Wisdom and God’s Command for us to Love our neighbors, there is really only one way to view this particular Proverb.
Before we get into the proper translation, let’s look at this one in the KJV to see what I mean. It says, “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”
Now, given how in today’s climate, with all of the social medial trolling and the unkind and even blatantly abusive and hostile statements being made, without Wisdom, we can see how someone might misinterpret this particular translation.
It is so important not to lose face online or to lose an argument when someone disagrees with our standpoint that it has become commonplace to lie, insult, and say whatever comes to mind, regardless of the potential harm it may cause, simply to win.
We are so caught up in what other people will think if we acquiesce to a dissenting viewpoint that we are willing to attack our opponents’ dignity to appease some warped sense of honor.
However, when you look at it objectively, not only do we often not even know the people we are engaged with online, but their opinions are all but meaningless in the vast scheme of things. And even if we do know them, how important are these disputes?
Who cares what their opinion is? As long as you are in good standing with God and your loved ones, what else matters? The fights we engage in online are just another example of the Weapons of Mass Distraction that the enemy uses to draw our minds away from God and the things of His Word.
When we engage people in a less than loving way, we allow the enemy to control our thoughts, and we push God and His Commands out of the way for the sole purpose of getting in the perfect last word or winning some childish squabble. I submit that this is not what this Passage is suggesting.
The “fitting reply” that the author refers to is not talking about some snarky comeback or witty retort. What it is referring to is Wisdom. The author suggests that we can all derive joy from giving a truthful and intelligent response to those we engage with.
The “fitting reply” is not the harsh or hurtful one. It is not the one that will get the most “likes” while at the same time tearing down the relationships we could be using to spread the Love of God.
The “fitting reply” is the one that is well thought out, correct, and appropriate. It is the one that builds up instead of tearing down. It brings joy to you and offers inspiration and encouragement to the hearer, not anger and embarrassment.
Getting in a crack at someone you’re arguing with is not “saying the right thing at the right time.” It’s actually the exact opposite. The joy that Solomon is speaking of is like the judgment he made in 1 Kings 3:16–28.
If you know the story, you know that he saw the reality of the situation by utilizing Wisdom and said exactly what needed to be conveyed to suss out the truth. Now, that is an example of saying the right thing at the right time!
We have to think before we speak (or type) if we are to mirror God’s Love which He has Commanded us to spread on His behalf. That may mean swallowing the “perfect” comeback and not saying anything at all when provoked.
The question becomes; what is most important to you? Is it getting in the perfect dig? Or is it pleasing God with your words as well as your thoughts? Only you can answer that for you but keep in mind that we will all be Judged for our words and deeds. Will your words condemn you or redeem you?
Have a Terrific Tuesday and Remember, If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say, Just Shut Up!