Standing in the kitchen, my daughter exclaimed, “Mom, there’s a fly in the honey!” I quipped back with the familiar adage, “You will always catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” While this was the first time I’d (accidentally) caught a fly with honey, I found myself quoting this modern proverb because of its wisdom: kind requests are more likely to persuade others than a bitter attitude.
The book of Proverbs gives us a collection of wise proverbs and sayings inspired by God’s Spirit. These inspired sayings help to guide us and teach us important truths about how to live in ways that honor God. Many of the proverbs focus on interpersonal relationships, including the profound effect our words can have on others.
In a section of proverbs attributed to King Solomon, he warned against the harm caused by speaking falsely against a neighbor (Proverbs 25:18). He counseled that a “sly tongue” results in dreary relationships (v. 23). Solomon warned against the chilling effect of constantly using complaining words (v. 24). And the king encouraged readers that blessing comes when our words bring good news (v. 25).
As we seek to apply these truths, we have God’s Spirit who helps us give a “proper answer” (16:1). Empowered by Him, our words can be sweet and refreshing.