Good words for the anxious

Sorry there was no post yesterday – we took a day off in place of the day we had planned for Sue’s birthday which was prevented by the funeral.

The Bible clearly speaks against being anxious. Jesus famously spoke against “being anxious for your life” in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. He rebuked Martha for being “anxious and troubled about many things“, Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything” and so on and so on. But in Proverbs 12:25 we find the writer prescribing an antidote to anxiety when he says:

Pro 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

And we all understand the first half all too well, don’t we? That weight that comes with anxiety that starts as nothing and then increases the more anxious we become.

And there is, of course, so much that we could become anxious about – all the uncertainty of these times, of your health, of your family’s health, job security, what the future post-Covid will look like and so on, and so on.

Now there is much that we can do to help ourselves when we become anxious (or indeed to keep us from becoming anxious) – as Jesus said by “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and as Paul said “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

But what can we do to help another who is anxious? well this proverb addresses just that. We can always speak “a good word” that will make him glad. This whole chapter is very much concerned with how we use our tongue and here we are being given a very good use for it!

And certainly we can take that “good word” in its simplest meaning and say simply that to speak a word of encouragement, to say something that lifts the weighted heart helps greatly, and it does. But this really goes further than that. For as Gill rightly comments on the second half of this verse:

“a comforting, cheering, and encouraging word from any friend, that compassionates their distressed case; this lifts up the heart and inspires it with joy; so a word in season, spoken by a Gospel minister, raises up a soul that is bowed down, and gives it comfort and joy: such a good word is the Gospel itself; it is good news from a far country, which is like cold water to a thirsty soul, very refreshing and reviving. The Septuagint and Arabic versions here render it, “a good message”, and such the Gospel is; which, when brought to the heart of a poor sinner, depressed with the terrors of the law, causes joy in it; such is the word of peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life by Christ; such is the word that he himself spoke,”

Of all the “good words” that we could give to one who is anxious, what will lift their heart like the forgiveness of sin and peace with God offered in the gospel?

Dear friend, how many do you know who are anxious at this time, who are trying to face this so uncertain and frightening future without Christ? You and I have the perfect “good word” to give them!

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