I recently posted some reflections on the need for God's people to pay attention to both "Content" and "Delivery" when responding to the questions of our neighbors and culture. CLICK HERE
Another Metaphor: "Position" and "Posture"
As I have been working with Pastor Aaron and Pastor JB each week on our Summer Sermon Series on Wisdom, we have used the words "Postion" - like "Content" - and "Posture" - like "Delivery" - to get at the same distinction. That is to say, Wisdom in Proverbs is often as much about the "Posture" of the one speaking as it is the correctness of their "Position." Each are important in a Both/And sort of relationship.
God's Wisdom For Navigating Life - Time & Kathy KellerI should not have been surprised when I came across another angle on this same distinction in Proverbs in the daily devotional by Tim & Kathy Keller that we are using as a supplement resource for the series. See if you don't agree:
"Content" or "Position"
July 2 - THE GOD OF TRUTH. Concern for truthfulness is not merely practical but right. Business schools’ ethics classes advise honesty as the most profitable business policy. But God desires honesty in business even when, as here, dishonesty in scales and balances could make you a lot of money and never be found out. The reason? God is truth by nature—all his words are flawless and true. . . We are to “put on the new self, created to be like God” (Ephesians 4:24) and “therefore . . . speak truthfully to [our] neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). We must be truthful if we are to be like God, for he cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), he always keeps his promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). He always means exactly what he says and says exactly what he means—he cannot be inconsistent with himself. Above all, Jesus is Truth itself (John 14:6). He reveals God, the ultimate truth, perfectly (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:3).
"Delivery" or "Posture"
July 3 - KIND WORDS. The second mark of good speech is kindness. It is not enough for words to be truthful. The word translated as kind means “personal and kind, pleasant and sweet, timely and thoughtful.” Because our words must be life-giving (15:4), we must never use truth as a weapon. You must ask yourself why you are telling the truth. Is it to win an argument? To punish or pay back by embarrassing the other person? To undermine something true that the person is saying but you don’t want to hear? To defend your pride? To complain? To make yourself look good to others?
St. Paul says every word must pass this test—“that it may benefit those who listen . . . according to their needs” (Ephesians 4:29). When you tell the truth, you should always have a “ministry motive.” You should only confront to help another person achieve illumination and understanding or to remove distance and barriers between you and the other person. Speak the truth, but in love (Ephesians 4:15). If you do so, it can lift up even someone sinking in anxiety and fear.
July 4 - GENTLE WORDS. When Proverbs talks of kind words, it speaks of our speech’s motives. When it speaks of gentle words, it is speaking of speech’s form—its tone and demeanor. Being gentle does not mean agreeing (August 6), but it does mean being respectful and friendly. We are called to speak gently even (or especially) in an angry confrontation, rather than answering with harsh, hard words in kind. Speaking gently in such moments is difficult, not least because of the fear of appearing weak. . . Ironically, gentle speech is ultimately more persuasive than “so take that!” arguments. Harsh words play well with people who already agree with you, but they won’t persuade or help the truth to spread. Follow the one who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return (1 Peter 2:23).
Keller, Timothy; Keller, Kathy. God's Wisdom for Navigating Life (pp. 183-185). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
CLICK HERE for the Amazon link to the Keller's book. Consider spending 5 minutes each day with them growing deeper in the Heavenly Father's wisdom as you navigate your life.