Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body (Proverbs 16:24 CSB).
Friend to Friend
In the middle of a tough day, I take a deep breath and then share my discouragement with a friend. I resist the urge to end with, “But, really, I’m fine.” I dare to let her see what’s actually going on in my heart.
She replies with words of hope and encouragement. They are Jesus-filled words, so spot-on for what I need to hear that I know they are not just from her but Him, too. I can feel the ache easing and my strength returning. I’m going to be okay. I think of Proverbs 16:24, which says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.”
Suddenly, I’m curious about what this actually means. What are the medicinal properties of honey? I’ve heard vague talk about honey being helpful for allergies and colds so this is what I expect to find. But the actual research is even more powerful. Honey, both in the ancient world and today, is primarily considered a healing agent in wound care. Isn’t that beautiful?
First, honey has antibacterial properties. It helps keep the yuck out during the healing process. When our hearts are wounded we always battle lies, and kind words from those with the truth can help protect us.
Also, honey has anti-inflammatory qualities. It prevents what’s already bad from getting worse. Kind words can keep us from sliding into destructive patterns of thinking or reacting.
Honey is soothing as well; it simply feels good. Sometimes on a hard day we just need some tenderness and compassion in our lives. There have been many times when words have given me strength, renewed faith and courage.
I’ll confess my tendency when I’m in pain is sometimes to hide and act tough. Slap a Band-Aid on it and carry on. Pretend my hurt is no big deal. But we are created to share life with each other! Our hearts are meant to mend in the presence of others. Often this starts with being honest, with finding the courage to say to someone we trust, “Bring your honey jar over here. I need some today. Then tell me all about what’s going on with you too.”
When others do share with us, we can treat others the way we want to be treated when we’re hurting. We can resist the urge to rub salt in their wounds with criticism or clichés. We can hold back our human opinions and extend divine grace. We can intentionally be considerate and ask God for wisdom as we offer gentle comfort, encouragement and support.
We all have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of whoever is right in front of us today. All we have to do is open our hearts and ears then our mouths. Our words are a sweeter and more mysterious force than we can even fully know this side of heaven. Yes, they can hurt and destroy. But let’s also never forget or underestimate their God-given power to heal.
Dear God, thank You for Your kindness! What a gift it is to know that You look at me with love. Holy Spirit, fill me with Your words today so that I might pour out kindness as sweet as honey, encouraging those around me with truth and love.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What words of kindness have impacted you? It might be one sentence spoken at just the right time or a letter in the mail! As you consider the power of kind words, take a moment today to send a text, make a phone call, or write a note of kindness to a friend.
More from the Girlfriends
Holley Gerth is a woman who loves words and some of her favorites are “coffee,” “chocolate” and “nap.” She also enjoys using her words to encourage the hearts of women through books like What Your Soul Needs for Stressful Times: 60 Powerful Truths to Protect Your Peace. If you want to live with more peace and less pressure, more calm and less chaos, more worship and less worry, Holley’s devotional is for you!
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© 2022 by Holley Gerth. All rights reserved.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb:I don’t think it takes much to encourage and to make someone feel special. What comes to my mind is remembering their name and how to pronounce it. Noticing when someone is missing from church and giving them a call to see if everything is all right and if you can help. Sending a card when you find out someone is sick. Really listening and remembering conversations that you have with others. We never know the wounds that others are healing from that are around us. God does!
Holley, thank you for writing this! Proverbs 16:24 is one of my favorite verses. So much so, I was inspired to name my pet dove Honey. 🙂 All to say, I love this about Jesus — that He’s the source of all encouragement, putting wind back in our sails exactly and in the way that we need it. I also love that He transforms and knits that within our own hearts as we seek and follow Him.
For me, I love getting and sending fun “just because” cards in the mail, when people aren’t expecting it.
Thank you so much for doing that research on honey. Very interesting and applicable. May my words soothe someone’s soul today. 🙂
Thank you, Holley, for sharing this truth today. Yes, we are created to share life with each other ! This prompted me to reach out to a few special people who I know are hurting.
And, “Bring your honey jar over here. I need some today. Then tell me all about what’s going on with you too.” This is so clever, as well as a cute way to ask for help. I’m definitely sharing with my Bible study girlfriends in God to encourage us to reach out to each other. Thank you!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I to love to send cards to others and I will be writing this in the ones that I know who are desperately hurting. Been your honey jar over and let’s talk.
This is so helpful as I have 3 children. Sometimes they just need me to listen when they are hurting. Is like God spoke directly to me this morning through you. My eldest daughter is having a rough time and to be very honest, I have not sat with her to find out how is she feeling or what she is going through.
Thank you for speaking to me and opening my eyes.