Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Science of a Kind Word

“Anxiety weighs down the human heart,

but a good word cheers it up.”

~Proverbs 12:25 (NRSV).

There seem two vast extremes in the proverb presented above, like so many of the proverbs. We see here the power to either build up or destroy—at least in the notional setting.

The Nature of Anxiousness

This idea surrounds uncertainty. It almost seems the perfect fear because it’s so untenable. Trifles of insecurity piled atop each other—hardly explicable—they collude and hence magnify. The weight quickly becomes unbearable.

An anxious heart “bows down” like a prisoner before its captor—presumably the critical spirit who bears down on the people around them.[1]

This sort of anxious heart is defeated and forlorn at the sign of the ‘heavy’ perpetrator; not the sort of place we’d like any of our loved ones to be, or ourselves for that matter.

The Idea of Kindness

Our hearts are precious devices of motivation and inspiration or otherwise depression and despair. Kindnesses are the sort of thing that inspires our hearts helping us feel positive and ‘awake’ to the good things in life.

Kindness, here, is somehow linked with both lightness and fruitfulness. People who are kind are fruitful. They inspire us to be fruitful and joyful because there’s very little fear of failure. With these, there’s really only the possibility of success, fun and camaraderie.

Are we people who ‘weigh down’ or ‘cheer up’ others?

When there’s a lull in a conversation what do we reach for—the negative thing to pounce on, or the positive invocation alleviating stress?

How many ‘good words’ have we spoken recently... today? It’s never too late to start.

And if we find we’ve been at the brunt of a ‘caustic’ other, we cannot retaliate in kind with them—certainly not. We’re even more determined to ‘inflict’ kindness on our world because of them!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Paul E. Koptak, Proverbs – NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), p. 344.

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