Be a Dispenser of Honey
¡§Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.¡¨ (Proverbs 16:24) The travails of life offer us not a little suffering. The burden of subsistence and the struggles of human nature can even weigh us down and make us bitter inside (the bones). It can seem as though nothing will ever again be pleasurable and one is a great failure. But the bible characterizes pleasant words as honey that makes one¡¦s soul feel sweet and cheerful, and brings healing to the spirit so that it is revitalized. So what does pleasant words refer to? Of course they are the words of God. The philosopher Immanuel Kant once said, ¡§The comfort brought to me by a single phrase in the bible is greater than that given me by all the books of the world that I have ever read.¡¨ Do we have this sort of experience with God¡¦s words?
Although a bee does not look imposing and is rarely noticed, it quietly goes about its work gathering nectar from everywhere, and is able to supply the needs of humans. We should learn from the life of a bee, to quietly do work through the words of God, absorb His precious instructions and truth, and then help others; to be just like a burning torch that delivers warmth and myriad benefits to people, so that by the words of God they will have ¡§healing to the bones¡¨, that is to cure the wounds of people¡¦s spirits as a therapist of their lives.
Yet we should also learn another form of ¡§pleasant words¡¨, and that is appropriate and heartfelt expression of appreciation and affirming commentary. These words can often cause a person to rediscover the purpose of his enterprise.
A declaration of sincere admiration and a statement of genuine encouragement both possess immense impetus. When it comes to growing children especially, they are as yet unclear about their own potential and lack conviction. A verbal attestation of their strengths from a parent or a respected person will give them a direction and a bit of self-confidence that will generate for them the courage to overcome hardship and expose their aptitude. In fact, adults are the same. They too need the affirmation of others and acknowledgement of their efforts, so that they are made aware that their endeavors are valuable.
But often we are reluctant to say these appreciative, encouraging words. We may have many excuses - fearful of spoiling the children, uncomfortable with being too saucy with a spouse, skittish about sucking up to a superior, apprehensive of friends misconstruing our intent. We therefore lose many opportunities to build up each other.
I have also heard some use the words of the bible to support their opinion ¡V ¡§But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.¡¨ (Matthew 6:3); ¡§Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.¡¨ (Luke 6:26) So we are not supposed to extol the accomplishments of others in case what they have done become known to people and they lose their reward from God. It may even place them into a trial with woeful consequences when the object of their endeavors turns from God to getting the applause of others. But I don¡¦t feel that this is an accurate usage of the bible. The bible wants to pinpoint the motive for our actions, reminding us that we must not be self-centered in doing good for the sake of our own benefit, and especially of settling upon the single goal of seeking the approval and favour of others. See how natural the praises of the Beloved to the Bride are in the Song of Songs. His words fortified this feeble Bride, healing her soul. If we sincerely communicate kindly words from within our hearts, these words become like honey from the honeycomb, healing others.
If we are to be a dispenser of honey, we need to diligently and continuously develop ourselves. Try to use the vision of love to discern the strengths of others; the sentiment of love to wish for the happiness of others; the wisdom of love to encourage the growth of others; the action of love to build up others. Yet in this process if you discover some things that the person needs to be reminded of to rectify, I suggest that you use the principle of ¡§3 praises for 1 criticism¡¨. First dig up 3 aspects of the person worthy of admiration. After professing them clearly, then remind him to improve on the matter in which he under-performs. In that way, you will greatly build up the other person and not easily fall into the trap of criticism, judgment and grievance yourself. Let us help each other!
Try this week to make a declaration of sincere thanks to each family member, a friend, or a stranger you meet (salesperson, gas station attendant, neighbour etc.). Affirm their efforts, and try to be a dispenser of honey.
By: Esther Hung