A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11
I love the image this verse portrays. I can see it in my mind. Maybe it is because my mom used to have a basket of “fake fruit” on the table in the living room in my childhood home. It was filled with plastic fruit that she decorated with pins and iridescent beads. Amongst those fruit were golden plastic fruit, the décor of the ‘80’s. I always wanted to touch that fruit but was scolded when I did and was told those are not toys. With this image I am reminded that there is a time and place for everything and every word.
Just the other day God gave me this comparison so bold I felt the words come out of my mouth and my tongue trying to catch them to return them back to the wicked place from which they came. Ever been there before? Thankfully, He allowed me to make up for it and the conversation with that person ended well and I left learning a valuable lesson that I’d like to share with you.
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. Romans 14:1
Working with teenagers and spending most of my day with them, I get to practice this verse often; it’s with adults that I struggle most. As a high school teacher, I expect that my students will be “less faithful” and “less knowledgeable” about the Bible due to their youth. This is not always the case but I don’t have the high expectations of them therefore I can accept the weaker faith and not quarrel over the simple stuff. Sometimes it’s best just to listen, especially with a peer.
I had a great conversation with a student and they were explaining spiritual revelation they received from the Lord. As I just listened, I was able to encourage them by affirming their ear to hear God and their willingness to follow Him. Some of what they said was a little “off” but for the most part they were right on spiritually. I have learned to just affirm what they are doing right and not nit-pick the little things. I can pray that God will grow them in the areas of weakness and guide them in truth. I refrain from correcting only if it is far from truth and in direct contrast to the truth of God’s Word; this is an example of a word “fitly spoken”, a ”word spoken in the right circumstances” or “timely advice”. Where I made the mistake with my peer is I didn’t accept that their faith was weaker and got into a spiritual argument over disputable matters. That left them defensive and bothered. I didn’t speak a gold apple into a silver basket if you know what I mean. The lesson I learned was valuable that day, listen, listen, listen.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19