Read Judges 8:1-3
Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” We all have experienced the power of words, both positive and negative. Words can tear down and words can build up. Words can wound and words can heal. The book of Proverbs is filled with verses about the power of words.
“Kind words are like honey- sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4
Our passage today finds Gideon facing a new enemy- his own people. The last thing he needed to hear was whining and complaining from the men of Ephraim. The haughty Ephramites were more concerned with themselves and why they were not included in the initial attack than they were about the victory that had just happened across the Jordan. They had on their “boxing gloves” ready to pick a fight. Rather than putting on his “gloves” and defending himself, he chose a gentle answer that was like life-giving water to a weary, discontented soul. He chose, as Paul says in Ephesians 4:29, a word good for edification according to the need of the moment. We know that his carefully chosen words diffused the situation. Look closely at the end of verse 3. “Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.”
Kindness and gentleness are fruits of the Spirit. Both of these fruits are seen not only in our actions but in our words. Words hold great power. The next time someone wants to fight with words, remember the promise the writer of Proverbs gives. “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word.”