Words: Wait. Wait. Now!

“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23)

Everybody knows that good comedy is all about timing. Hit the punch line too late or too early, and it’s just not funny. Hit the sweet spot, and it’s hilarious. You can say the same words and get an entirely different reaction.

words_350It’s not just humor. In every area of life, your words pack more or less punch depending on when you say them, as well as how you deliver them. In another proverb, the writer warns that a blessing that comes too early in the morning will be taken as a curse. (27:14) You know from personal experience that saying the right thing at the wrong moment can be a disaster.

On the flip side, wisdom tells us exactly when to drop that encouraging phrase or personal experience to relate to a friend’s pain. Wisdom tells us when it is best to say, “I’m sorry,” and when it’s best to wait for anger to cool. And wisdom picks the perfect moment to confront someone and when to let it pass. Wisdom has great timing.

Think: How’s your timing with helpful, funny, or sensitive words? What could you do to improve your timing?

Pray: Ask God for the wisdom to know when to speak, as well as what to say.

Do: Next time you see a great comedian in action, watch his or her timing. How does that help or hurt the funny?