There is value in solitude. In an age where we have so many media outlets and opportunities to hang out with other people, being alone on purpose has become a rare blessing. It is usually easier to pray, read the Bible, and reflect deeply when no one else is around. Even Jesus would take time away from the crowds and even His disciples to spend quality alone time with the Father. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Not only do we need to value this process in our own lives, but we also need to respect it in the lives of others. The wise author Solomon wrote, “There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7) So be wise yourself and figure out when your words would be an extra burden to someone going through a struggle. The right words delivered at the wrong time or in the wrong way can be as damaging as the wrong words.
But even though solitude and silence have their place and value, it does not mean that these elements are always advisable. Another passage of Scripture tells us, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25) So apparently, a good word is the antidote to a heart weighed down with anxiety. Solitude can help you come to grips with a difficult thing in your life. It can help remove some of the additives in your mind. But solitude will not necessarily cheer up an anxious heart. It is a great responsibility to know that good words are the cure for a heavy heart.
In the movie Lord of the Rings – Return of the King, Frodo has a mission that only he can complete. It is a heavy task that requires him casting a ring into a volcano. But he is very weary at the end of his mission. His good friend Sam steps up in the relationship and tells the fading Frodo, “I can’t carry it for you. But I can carry you.” The good word at the right time, in the right way. He didn’t diminish Frodo’s pain and struggle. But he offered a good word to bolster his spirit.
One of the big ‘mental problems’ of our day is anxiety. The psychiatric and psychological community would have us believe that anxiety and depression are best dealt with by medication and ‘therapy’. But the Bible tells us that a ‘good word’ is the best medicine for these things. A good word is not simply a distraction from the pain you feel. A good word is truth in your life, and helps put difficulty in perspective. If you are in a difficult place and someone delivers a positive truth into your life, receive it. Don’t refuse it so you can wallow in your grief. There is power in a good word. Allow that power to lift you from your low point to a better place.
If you are the one who is to deliver a good word, do it in the right spirit. Don’t simply throw out a nice phrase as a band-aid. Speak the truth in such a way that it actually lifts the other person’s heart, and not just their ear. Don’t offer platitudes and vain hope. Give the real deal. Don’t share a good word with someone to make yourself look compassionate. Give a good word from your heart to another’s in a way that lets them know there is a future to desire.
Today you may be in a place where you don’t want to hear anyone say anything. I get it. Let the silence of earth and the Spirit of God be your comfort. But be prepared for someone to lift your heart with a good word that is not just truth on a page, but hope in the spirit realm. Perhaps you are not in a dark place, but you know someone who is. A good word is like a delicate colorful rose delivered to someone whose world has been invaded by a harsh storm of gray. In the end, I hope this has been a good word to a heavy heart out there somewhere.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.