Do Your Words Promote Life?

The story of Abigail is found on 1 Samuel 25

 

Her husband honored his name once again by disrespecting a great man of war – worse yet, the anointed future king of Israel! Nabal, “the fool”, a rich business man, had denied hospitality to David and his men, even though David had blessed his household and offered peace.

His folly angered the future king, who prepared his men for war.

And then there was Abigail – wisdom and discernment personified.

No, seriously. Abigail was the full package: beautiful, resourceful, an innate leader, and wise, very wise.

Proverbs 31 woman on all accounts.

She must have been a great manager of her state and a fair employer, since her servants were faithful to warn her of the upcoming doom.

Her discernment was better than any weapon of war.

Her timing was perfect.

Her words, controlled and full of wisdom, atoned for Nabal’s offense.

The Bible does not say much about her spirituality, but her words show that she reverenced the God of Israel and followed His leading.

At a time when people often act and speak out of anger and impulsiveness, Abigail’s story reminds me of the importance of measuring our circumstances with care, and pausing to seek God’s guidance before acting… or speaking.

We all know the consequences of impulsive acts, and are able to quickly assess the damage that actions without restrain cause in a person’s life. As a matter of fact, we often find ourselves putting on the black robe of judgement when people around us make bad decisions that render damaging consequences.

But today my heart is particularly burdened by the impact of something less evident than falling into temptation or acting in anger. I am talking about the impact of careless, angry, or judgmental words.

As I read Abigail’s plea to David, it is evident that she was careful to think before speaking, and measured her words with humility and grace. David was touched, soothed… and found himself falling in love with her {well, it did help that she was beautiful too.}

“That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.” Arundhati Roy

I believe that everyone can testify of how words carelessly or angrily spoken have either destroyed or built up a relationship. I can easily think of relationships that were never the same after certain words were spoken out of haste… or selfishness.

Words start and end wars.

Words can strengthen or kill a child’s confidence.

Words can tear friends apart.

Indeed, as I think about my childhood, most of the negative experiences I remember were crowned with hurtful words. And, sadly, I am afraid that most of the pain I’ve caused people I love was also inflicted by unkind or careless words.

We all do it.

We allow anger or disappointment to take over our emotions and, before we realize it, we say something that we shouldn’t have. We throw words that can never be retrieved, and then we are left with the consequences of our lack of wisdom and impulsiveness.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26 (NIV)

These words on the first chapter of James send a strong message to us today.

At a time where social media has opened the door for anyone to say whatever they wish at any time, may those of us who desire to become true ambassadors of our God take heed of this truth:

We will always be remembered by the words we speak.

Abigail must have been afraid, angry at Nabal and worried about her future. There is no question that many emotions were playing in her heart when she realized that David would soon devastate her estate and kill everyone on his way.

But instead of impulsively acting on her emotions, Abigail chose to put herself in David’s shoes first, acknowledge her husband’s mistake and carefully devise a strategy of peace.

Instead of hastily acting out of fear, she chose humility and words of wisdom.

And when she spoke, her voice was like balm to the future king’s wounded pride.

Because her words were Life, she deflected death from her entire household… and will be remembered forever as a wise woman of God.

A father’s Joy. That’s the meaning of Abigail’s name. As far as I can tell, it seems as if Abigail made God rejoice with her humble and wise attitude.

I want to be like her… and teach my daughters to be wise when using this wonderful, yet powerful tool that God gave humankind.

My prayer today is that the Holy Spirit will help us all remember to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19), lest we inflict wounds that can never be fully repaired.

May we become Abigails (A Father’s Joy) in a world full of Nabals (fools).

May we be Promoters of wisdom in our social media walls…

Givers of life and blessings to our children and spouses…

Encouragers to our friends and neighbors…

May our words reflect the character of the Holy Spirit that lives within us: Let them be filled with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

Patricia Holbrook

Patricia Holbrook is the President of Soaring with Him Ministries, author, columnist, blogger and International speaker. Her passion is to encourage her audience to "soar above life's circumstances" by the power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit's guidance. She writes about making beauty out of brokenness, trusting God in the dark, the blessings of obedience and her love for the Savior. Among other places, you can find her writing weekly on her blog, www.soaringwithHim.com. on her weekend column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on the iDisciple app, and websites such as Internet Devotions Cafe, among others. She writes in between car lines, homeschool lessons, tears and laughter. She lives in Georgia with her husband Steve, their two daughters and their miniature Schnauzer Jingle Bells.

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