Somehow the idea of pleasant words combined with discipline or instruction seems a little strange. Most memories of being corrected don’t evoke happy or pleasant thoughts. Often correction means stern or harsh warnings, even when given with the best of intentions. However, in the Proverbs instruction is to be received as precious jewelry, something to be worn with honor. How does this happen?
Proverbs 16:20-24 provides a guide for how to make your instruction valuable. Solomon stresses the obvious, but neglected value of instruction. Those who pay attention to instruction do well. Understanding is like a fountain of fresh water to those who are thirsty. Instruction flows from wise lips and is to be desired. This description of loving understanding is in sharp contrast to the disgraced young fool in Proverbs 5 who had come to ruin because he hated understanding and discipline.
But Solomon not only states the value of wise instruction in Proverbs 16. He also says how this instruction is to be transmitted! Pleasant words promote instruction! A wise man uses pleasant words flowing from his lips to grace what he teaches. The wise parent knows that pleasant words are healing and bring restoration to his child’s heart and body! She knows she is giving her child something more valuable than the finest necklace or gem stone.
The reason for using pleasant words becomes clear as you focus on the purpose for your discipline and instruction. Your goal is not simply to change behavior or instill a sense of warning and caution that poor choices yield poor results. This aspect is important, but your instruction is to accomplish much more. The goal of your instruction is to lead your children to learn the person of Christ!
In Ephesians 4:20 Paul reminds you that what makes your instruction precious and unique is that learning Christ is the end goal. Not just learning about Christ, but actually learning Christ! The language in Ephesians is specific. Instead of learning from the world, you are to learn Christ.
Your love for your spouse or children is based not only on knowledge about them but your love comes directly from interacting with them, from knowing them, from enjoying them, from hurting with them. It is to be the same with learning Christ.
Use pleasant words to present the one person who is worth giving up all that you have to know. Use pleasant words to lead your children to learn Christ!