Voices can become familiar. We can articulate a wise, practical and truthful insight to a person. The words move beyond mere clichés or thoughtless one liners. They bring perspective or even provide an application action to the conversation. Yet, the person may not buy into our advice in the moment.

A week later the same person comes to us. They say, “I was talking to (fill in with a name) and they said the exact thing I needed to hear…” As you begin to listen to them, they communicate exactly what you shared with them. Perhaps, this instance is less about content or our role in a person’s life and more about timing. 

How do I know this? Because I can see myself on both sides of this dialogue and you might also. It takes time for us to receive wisdom. We internalize and debate with ourselves. We play out the scenarios of our struggles and challenges. Wouldn’t this be true for others receiving words from us? Just like us, they process and contextualize what they have heard.

Proverbs 25:11-13 communicates about these instances in this manner:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters. 

The question from this passages is, “Are you ready to hear?” 

We are invited to lower our defense shields and not tune out a familiar voice. Conversely, we can measure our words for the right timing to others. God prepares us to hear. He fashions the circumstances of life, the repeated feedback from others, messages and readings to direct us. Wisdom both listens and waits for the right circumstances to speak into another’s life. 

Today marks the beginning of the week. Let’s reflect on these thoughts:
Are we using wisdom for the timing of our words to others?
Are we ready to hear what others have to say to us?
Are we stepping back to discern how God might be speaking to us?

Photo credit to Jessie Schnall, you can see more of her work at Portraits by Jessie.