Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Pro 16:21b ESV
This verse gives us the true key for becoming a leader and influential person.
Having come through the election cycle we’ve seen vivid examples of anything but sweetness of speech. In the aftermath of all the heavy handed mud slinging, patronizing attitudes, and criticism it may do us good to have this reminder.
The best way to win an argument or get someone to do what we want is not through rough speech, reprimands, or authoritarian inducements. Persuading someone comes through sweet speech. That is through kind words, gracious tones, and helpful gestures.
Sweet speech is demonstrated in complimentary attitudes, profuse expressions of gratitude, and genuine interest in the good of others. That means we should go out of our way to encourage those around us, more than we criticize them. We should be ready to publicly recognize good works and a job well done. And when we do need to correct someone, it should be more medical than detrimental. By that I mean our admonishments should be couched in cordial terms, courteous, and demonstrating the highest level of diplomacy.
Unfortunately, our natures makes us condescending and sarcastic. We usually spike the ball in someone’s face, talk down to them, point out their faults, and overlook those good things in their lives that ought to be commended and given credit.
All in all, there’s a great sin of omission. God’s will for our lives is that our speech be seasoned with the friendly sweetness that would result in people glorifying the gospel and furthering obedience to God’s law.
The Duggar’s once said that this was one of the main components of their parenting method. As parents, there is much to reprimands and we can come to have the habit of chiding our children for this or that. But they said that their goal was to encourage more often than they admonish them. They aimed to inspire them to be good rather than beat it into them.
Undercover Boss – Those who are the leaders are those who have a cheerful demeanor and who know how to motivate people. There’s nothing manipulative about it. It is simply the ability to arouse enthusiasm and coax them through positive reinforcement and helpful redirection.
Lately I’ve started reading a book entitled, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Maybe you will have the same attitude that my daughter did when I told her the title of the book. She said, “Poor daddy. He has to read books on how to make friends.”
But the book is all about this kind of thing. It shows how people become more successful and have greater ability to increase productivity when they demonstrate a genuine love for other people.
As Christians, this is to be the standard of our speech. So as we come to our time of confession, let’s bow our heads to confess how we’ve failed, and ask for the sweetness of the gospel to persuade our hearts and minds into renewed righteousness.
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name. Lord, we recognize that we are blasphemous creatures. We admit that our mouths have spoken out of the abundance of our hearts. Our speech has often been unkind and disagreeable, causing people to be provoked more to anger than to obedience. Lord, we recognize that we have sinned by not demonstrating the verbal charm that we should have. We confess that we have not loved with our lips.
Lord we pray that you may forgive us for having failed in this regard. And we pray that you would teach us by example. Let the gospel of grace be spoken to our hearts. May the fact that Christ has died and rose again enchant us. May the fact that you renew the brokenhearted and clear the guilt of sinners be that which persuades us to follow in the footsteps of your dear Son, who’s words brought life and salvation to all.
God, grant us hearts that are full of the joy of your salvation that we might in turn persuade men to embrace the Savior of men.
In Jesus strong name we pray. Amen.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.
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