Near the end of his book, Job gives his final discourse to his friends. After listening to their tormenting accusations, Job contrasts their speech to his own. As I read these words, I wanted the same things to be true of me.
“People listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears.” (Job 29:21-22)
Was Job tooting his own horn here? I don’t think so. I believe he was simply pointing out his reality. Remember, God singled him out as a righteous, blameless, and god-fearing man – it seems reasonable that he would give wise counsel. How I would love for others to come expecting to receive sound counsel from me as well.
However, the following verse is what really caught my attention. Unlike the cold, harsh words spoken by his friends, Job’s words “fell gently on the ears” of those who sought out his advice. This does not mean that Job only told them things they wanted to hear; not at all. The original language was used to describe a soft rain as it dropped to the ground and was gently soaked into the soil.
When words fall gently on the ears of others it means we’ve spoken well – with love and gentleness; but also, that what has been said was received well and as we intended. And just as rain brings nourishment to the soil, so a well-spoken word brings benefit to the listener.
Soft, gentle, easy to absorb, and beneficial to others; even the toughest of messages can be heard if delivered with gentleness and grace. How are your words being sent and received? –Dave
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