** She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness. ** Proverbs 31:26
Throughout the Proverbs we see many references to the use of our mouth and tongue. They are described as lying, flattering and rebellious. But also, wise, wholesome and bearing good fruit. They can be used for good or for evil. They shouldn’t be used for both according to James in the New Testament.
Our words and our voice are probably the most powerful tools we have. What we say and how we say it depends on us.
The virtuous woman understands the value of wisdom and kindness. She understands that the right words at the right time or the wrong words at the wrong time can make or break someone.
I imagine Bathsheba was the victim of some pretty unkind words over the years. I imagine that many blamed her and insulted her for what happened with David. Some still do today. When her first son died, I imagine that some said that she deserved to have him die after all that happened with the King and with Uriah. The thing is, it wasn’t her fault. It was David’s. He had all the power. He had all the authority and Bathsheba had none. But isn’t that the way? Someone does something awful and others pay the price?
So, I think Bathsheba learned the value of words. She knew the hurt, the shame, the pain of unkind words. Because of what she suffered from others, she knew that she wanted to be different. And she wanted to encourage us to be different too.
This past year+ has taken its toll on everyone all over the world because of the pandemic and politics. So many harsh words have been said. So many insults. So many untruths. So much misinformation. I wonder how much of that originated with us? Or has kindness and wisdom been our number one response through all the trials of 2019/2020?
As we grow in Christ, we gain knowledge. Details. Information. As we piece together more and more of that information, we gain understanding. Things start to make sense. Patterns begin to emerge. Connections are made from one Bible verse to another. When we mix these two with time and experience and practice, we begin to respond with wisdom to the trials of life.
There is no shortcut. We all need to pass through each step. Knowledge, understanding, wisdom. But the goal should be the end game. Wisdom.
Knowledge alone just makes us arrogant. Understanding bears some fruit and helps us to teach others. But wisdom impacts lives.
Then, of course, her kindness. Wisdom combined with kindness is a powerful package. They give us the right way to respond to any given situation. They help us choose the high road when we are offended. They allow us to leave revenge in the hands of God for those who hurt us.
Synonyms for kindness could be—-forgiveness, respect, gentleness, honor. Kindness is a reflection of God’s character. Jonah was angry with God because of his kindness to the people of Nineveh. Jonah knew that if he preached and they responded with humility and repentance that God would forgive them and be kind. Jonah didn’t want that. He wanted Nineveh to pay for their sins and their idolatry. He wanted them to get what they deserved.
But Kindness is mercy. It is not giving people what they deserve. It is having the grace and the wisdom to forgive. It is remembering that we have all made mistakes and will again. It is speaking gently to those who insult or speak harshly. It is being patient and tender in the midst of anger and blasphemies. It is being RICH IN MERCY. It is being a little bit like God.