Beetexting’s Communication Advocate has a feature called Answering without Hearing that encourages us to be sure not to answer too quickly.
This feature is based on Proverbs 18:13 and Proverbs 25:11, which encourages us to make sure we only give answers that are fitting. This means we need to make sure we have all the information. Here’s how the feature works.
If we get an inbound message that includes a question, say, “what did you think about that meeting?” We type our response, “I thought it was great!”. Your Communication Advocate will notice that you have a reply to a question that doesn’t include a question. When the Advocate sees this, it will prompt you to remind you that, while it’s not always the case, it may be wise to respond to a question with a question as a way to ensure we’re not answering without hearing first.
This Scripture is not only about responding to questions. We feel it is much broader. For example, it could apply to sharing your opinions on a matter without asking enough questions to ensure you have the relevant information.
One of our prayers is that these features help us learn how God intended us to use the gift of communication so that we can carry that knowledge in every area of our lives.
Here are some more thoughts on these two scriptures and how they might apply to our thinking when it comes to communication.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. -Proverbs 18:13
We learned a lot when we did our Bible Study on Communication. One of the major themes that emerged when we studied the Scripture was the concept of ensuring that we give our speech due consideration. (Proverbs 10:32, Proverbs 11:12, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 13:3, Proverbs 15:2, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 18:13, Ecclesiastes 5:2, James 1:26).
Proverbs 18:13 reveals another layer of what is needed to consider our words. Not only should we carefully consider if our speech is overflowing from a sinful heart, but we also need to consider all the external information to ensure his speech is fitting. This means we need to make sure to have it!
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. - Proverbs 25:11
“A word fitly spoken,” encompasses all we have learned about speech. It fits in with God’s purpose for giving us the gift of speech. It is full of grace, it is spoken to those who desire it, and it is given due consideration.
“Pictures,” מַשְׂכִּית (mǎś·kîṯ): n. Sculpture. Like apples of pure gold in a sculpture made of silver, they are the most precious part of the art piece. Apples of gold would perhaps be the finishing touch, possibly even the centerpiece of a sculpture made of silver. Certainly, it would be the most valuable part of the sculpture.
If we are a sculpture of God’s making, when we use the gift of speech following God’s purposes, it all comes together. The only hope for this is Christ in our heart, for out of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), and we are not able to tame our tongue on our own (James 3:8), but whoever can tame it is perfect (James 3:2). However, if we are missing these apples of gold, the sculpture is incomplete. It will not be what the Sculptor intended. It will be missing its most valuable part, perhaps even the centerpiece. Are our words not important?