A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! (v. 23 NIV)
Solomon had many wives and a lot of children. Those wives had minds of their own, and his children grew up to have minds of their own. Solomon needed wisdom! And God gave it to him in great measure (1 Kings 3:12). Solomon shares a couple of principles that served him well in governing his nation and his family. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (v. 1). “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones” (v. 30).
How do you react if someone gets in your face and uses anger or intimidation to win their argument? Young children may need that once in a while, but with our adult children it is altogether different. Parents with harsh or condemning words or rigid attitudes lose the opportunity to be a positive influence in their children's lives.
Adult children react better to us if we listen to them and show respect for their viewpoints. They need to know that they can approach us and that we will listen to them when they do. Criticism and giving orders may come easy for us; after all, we are the parents and they are the children. But that must be avoided at all costs. Wise Solomon tells us to keep the lines of communication open and to keep the conversation positive.
Lord, let my words always be cheerful and positive.