Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy: To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace. We always thank God for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing your election, brothers loved by God. - 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4 HCSB

An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems. He went to the doctor who was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear perfectly. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again."

The gentleman replied, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times!"

It’s funny what people choose to hear. Parents continue talking to each other, oblivious as their kids yell “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” a hundred times while pulling on their sleeve. You can go into a restaurant and talk at a normal tone of voice and no one will pay any attention at all but as soon as you lower your voice for privacy, the whole restaurant goes quiet and LEEAANS.

We are selective in our hearing. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that no one is deaf to praise. Tell a person how smart they are and they will praise your wisdom. Tell them how skilled they are and they will marvel at your perspicacity. Brag on their good looks and they will tell the world about your keen insight and wonderful acumen.

I’m not advocating that we walk around flattering everyone, for after all, in the end people appreciate honesty over flattery.[1] However, there is room for encouragement and praise in the life of the wise. You can get far more with honey than you can with vinegar. It is Christ’s love that constrains us.[2]

The Ransomed are often guilty of the sin of “lashon hara”, or wicked talk. We gossip, slander or “speak the truth” with an angry or bitter heart. When others react poorly, we simply congratulate ourselves on being persecuted for speaking the truth, when the fact of the matter is that we are being rejected for being rude and boorish.

Paul, a man who was famous for his straight talk, gives us a tremendous example of love that is marked by kindness; that does not keep a record of wrongs; that believes all things, hoping for the best in people.[3]

“Lashon tzaddik”, righteous speech, is seasoned with grace. It doesn’t take a lot; just a little recognition of what is valuable in the other person and you will have their full attention and they will be far more likely to be agreeable.


[1] Proverbs 28:23

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:14

[3] 1 Corinthians 13:4-7