Prov 16: 21, 23 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness... The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. ESV
God's word teaches us that if we want to be persuasive, we must increase the "sweetness of speech" and make our "speech judicious". In other words, not just IQ or EQ but SQ (speech-quotient). Sweet and judicious--that what persuades people to listen to us and take us seriously. Sweet and judicious speech are affirming and inspiring speech. Today's Our Daily Bread story is about the two students at Purdue University who offered "Free Compliments" to everyone who passed them. And some students confessed they deliberately walked by them in order to hear something uplifting from them! Such is the human need for affirmation.
As people whose business to "persuade others" (2 Cor. 5:11) to accept Christ, we have to learn all the more to increase our SQ - speech that uplifts, not depresses, speech that encourages, not discourages, speech that affirms not denies, speech that inspires, not bores. It doesn't cost us anything to give away compliments, but so few are willing to do that because we are often too self-preoccupied. If we are others-focused, this comes naturally and easily.
Maybe one day, all churches should set up a ministry stall outside the church like the Purdue University students, distributing nothing but "Free Compliments" to all who walk by the church!
Father, make our speech sweet and judicious today. Amen.