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I have to say, as a relatively new wife, this proverb has gained some significance for me of late. After all, no one wants to be so hard to live with that someone would prefer the roof if that means getting away from you.
Of course, this proverb isn’t just for wives. There is something in these two verses for everyone. Each verse mentions a negative quality to avoid. The first is provocation – getting someone angry by using cruel words; and the second is nagging – always being on someone’s back about one thing or another, to the point where they would do just about anything to escape you.
For those who are familiar with the Bible, these concepts shouldn’t be new. Psalm 34:13 teaches the same lesson in even simpler terms: “Don’t say cruel things and don’t tell lies.” Today’s two proverbs add the consequences. Cruel words can only bring hurt and anger, and nagging will likely lead to separation, which means you need to watch what you say and how you say it.
As a wife or husband or daughter or father or whatever else you may be, if you are in a relationship with someone who is doing something aggravating or damaging or any number of other things, and you feel you need to speak to them about it, before you do, think. First of all: is it something that really needs to be dealt with, or is it just something that happens to bother you? If it’s the latter, then you may want to work on yourself first. However, if it is the former – a real issue – then you absolutely should talk to the person. Just don’t nag, because that won’t make anything better, and cruel words won’t help either. Speak to them in love instead.
Loving Father, you are love itself: slow to anger and abounding in forgiveness. Help me to follow your example and speak kindness, not cruelty, in order to bring about healing instead of hurt. Thank you for showing me what love looks like in action. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.