Ever since I moved back ‘south’ with my young family, I was prodded by the Lord to start a small group of single men and lead them to know more about God, to share wisdom with each other, and to encourage each other wherever we are – at work, at home with family, or at our life’s battle grounds.
This was our verse from our last meeting.
I brushed upon this verse during my quiet time and I realized that it’s so easy to miss. And yet the underlying meaning is so powerful.
Who doesn’t want the king for a friend?
The one who wrote this proverb, was of course, king Solomon. Bestowed with wisdom, diplomacy, extreme wealth, and a terrifying army, he is arguably the most powerful king who ever lived.
Befriending a king like that would mean a whole lot.
So when Solomon wrote this, he was writing it from a perspective of a king – probably the king he describes in the verse.
- A Pure Heart
I think that Solomon’s God-given wisdom can often be hidden from us in the sense that he writes things that we could so easily overlook. And yet having a pure heart goes beyond being the friend of any mortal king. It extends to being an intimate friend of God:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” – Matthew 5:8
What is having a pure heart? It is having a heart of honesty, integrity, godly motives. A heart that will be able to stand up in the face of God and know that it can present itself entirely and not be ashamed.
2. Speak with grace
I love the NLT version of this verse:
“Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.” – Proverbs 22:11 (NLT)
What does it mean to have ‘gracious speech’ ?
First, what is grace?
Grace, for me, generally means two things:
- To do something with charm and suave
- To give something that is undeserved to the receiving end
Either of the two would make sense in this verse but what I’d like to point out is the latter.
Too often in our world do we hear words that are unpleasant, discouraging, and demotivating. And I do agree that in the workplace, often times we do deserve these kinds of words – because we have our share of failures and mishaps.
Which makes gracious speech so much more needed by our world today. To say something that is undeserved by the person – perhaps a word of encouragement or praise while delivering the message you intended – is a novelty.
How would the turn-out be when you say something like this:
“This is very bad work. I’m very disappointed at you.”
“I know that you worked for this and I appreciate that. There are not many people who can do this kind of job. I just need you to re-check and improve at these points…”
Now I do know that the latter has more words spent in it but let me ask you this: How often do we spend our words on gracious speech versus instinctive, discouraging verbal reactions?
How does this Help me?
Let’s face it, there are people in your life that you want to get on the good side of. These are what we consider the ‘kings’ of our lives. It could be our parents, our spouse, our boss – what have you.
The advice of king Solomon is sound in the sense that it works. Whoever it is that you consider as a ‘king’ in your life, the advice works.
But you know what’s even more amazing? It works for the most important King – God.
And if you want to get on God’s good side, these are two things that you must practice.