Most people experience the stresses of life that drive anxiety to challenging levels. Relationships, health, family, business, employment, finance, the list goes on and on. What is more, the world provides an ever-increasing list of ideologies, systems, policies, and circumstances which serve as fertile ground for anxiety.
Proverbs 12:25 speaks of both reality and relief in this matter; anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Anxiety and gladness do not go together, which is precisely Solomon’s point. Anxiety can seriously impact our lives if allowed, with physical health, emotional health, and spiritual heath, all getting damaged and scarred. So, we agree with Solomon, anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, even to the point of feeling crushed breathless. Anxiety is not necessarily sin related, and it’s not necessarily connected to worry, but it can be.
Solomon knew the power of words, and here he speaks of the remedial qualities of good words. I suggest these are righteous words, possibly corrective words, both supportive and affirming. The believer’s arsenal of good words is vast, welling up from God’s Word with realistic help for those hammered by anxiety. Good words are not a magic formulae for instant success but go a long way in God’s recovery program. The heavy heart can be glad with a gladness which does not deny the realities causing anxiety. This gladness fixes its attention on someone higher and more powerful than the anxiety.
You see, good words communicate much more than niceties, although they may be included. Good words carry a host of truths which enable the anxious person, should they choose, to align their hearts with God’s truth, placing anxiety in submission to the supremacy of God. Good words are simply the vehicle a believer uses to deliver the necessary truth which can bring gladness.
Sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8) are critical attitudes necessary for those attempting to speak healing words into a troubled heart. Patient grace is another one of Christ’s qualities which communicates love and opens the heart to receive much needed help (2Co 8:7; Col 4:6). As many know, anxiety does not need verbal fluff with no substance, hollow Christian rhetoric is of no help.
Similarly, if anxiety is caused by sin, then you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness… (Galatians 6:1). Coming alongside a believer distracted by the sweet poison of sinful living is a much-needed grace in calling them to repentance. The good words an anxious believer caught in sin needs to hear is that forgiveness is available. A clear conscience and restoration await. In Psalm 51, David reveals the restoration from his own backsliding. Psalm 51:7-8 explains …wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Good words remind us that God is sovereign, controlling all that we cannot control. God is unchanging and therefore He is dependable. God is holy; therefore, He is pure and consistent in all He says and does. God is compassionate and understanding as He listens and responds to His hurting children. God’s Son really does …sympathize with our weaknesses… and, in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
These are just some of the good words anxious people need to hear for the restoration of gladness. May we be speakers of good words.