“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” Proverbs 15:23

In diplomacy, there is the principle of the measured response. It dictates that we should never act with greater severity than acted upon. In simple terms, it means and eye for an eye; no more, no less. And we can understand this logic. After all, we don’t want to be accused of over-reacting because when we over-react, we can no longer play the victim. So as Confucius said,

“Don’t use a cannon to kill a mosquito.”

But man’s ego makes appropriacy difficult to achieve. When we are caught up in the moment, we just want to let loose and injure, as much as, or if possible, even more than we have been injured.

Yet, this is not God’s way. But the reason why we should refrain from retaliation is not as altruistic as we might think. It is not because we should not be hurting others, nor is it because we should not, by our actions, give God a bad name. Instead, kindness shown, is kindness received. Let’s see why.

“People take pleasure in anything they say;
but a word at the right time, how good it is!” Proverbs 15:23 [CJB]

Anything we say, hurtful or otherwise, will always bring us pleasure. Else we won’t bother saying it. And in an argument, the degree of pleasure that our words bring us has a strong direct correlation with the degree of hurt it inflicts onto the other party. And if that word came at the right time, such that you had the last word in the argument, oh how good it is and what joy it brings.

But think about why you said that. What made you think that you needed to get that statement into the argument? What were you pre-empting? What were you protecting? What were you trying to prove?

Growing up, a friend of mine shared my love of cake. And we used to enjoy birthday parties in school because we had cake. But his response to cake was rather unique. He would hoard the cake, even though there was more than enough to go around. And if you were a little slow in finishing your slice, he would snatch it away from you so that he could have more for himself. You see, because his mother did not allow him to have cake at any other time, he saw birthday parties as the only opportunities for him to have cake and the deprivation drove him to desperation.

Now, that got me thinking, if deprivation leads to desperation, then the perception of a limitless supply should do the exact opposite and remove strong desire, shouldn’t it? So my wife and I started an experiment. We refused to stop ourselves from having chips. We ate as much as we wanted, whenever we wanted. And when our bodies told us to stop, we stopped. And you know what? I lost weight and we lost interest in chips. Yes, we do indulge every now and then, but the frequency has more than halved. It’s a great method. Those of you who are thinking of dieting should try it.

But why did it work? It worked because we no longer believed that the chips were in limited supply. And as basic economics would dictate, the greater we believed the supply to be, the less likely we were to hoard it and the more generous we could be with it. Simply put, we didn’t see the need to have chips each and every time we could because we knew that even if we missed out on chips now, we could get a fresh supply of chips anytime we wanted. Now, did the world supply of chips change? Not at all. What changed was our perception of our access.

So if we apply that same principle to our daily lives, then we will realize that we don’t need to hoard good works just so that we can end up better than others,

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

The good that we want to do has already been prepared and Jesus is leading us into them day by day, instance by instance. So there really is no end to the good that is coming your way. So if someone else ends up better than you for now, that does not mean that your supply is limited, because your very own supply of good works has already been prepared beforehand that you should walk in them.

We also realize that we do not need to hoard forgiveness, as if Jesus has only a limited supply of forgiveness credits and if we were to forgive others, then there would be less for us when we sin. No beloved, remember that on the cross,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

You are completely forgiven, made utterly righteous before God by Jesus’ sacrifice. There is nothing in the world that could change that, for as Paul says,

“…For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” Romans 5:15

So if you are given a chance to forgive another, forgive. No amount of forgiveness that you extend is going to limit how righteous you are and will always be in the eyes of our Father, because Jesus has made you comprehensively clean, once for all time.

We also realize that we do not need to hoard blessings, as if there was a limited supply on offer. Even when there is unrest in your life and in your surroundings, there is no need to loot or pillage like the world does because

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

And remember that Jesus did say,

“…whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

Hey, Jesus has given us a blank check. Why fight with the rest of the world? So you are asked to bless others at your expense. Remember that it is only a temporary charge to your account, a charge that our Father will surely repay in abundance, for Jesus did say,

“I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Now, once you have this all in mind, then you will realize that this is true.

“A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer,
And how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is!” Proverbs 15:23 [AMP]

For why is it that you are able to give the appropriate answer instead of the gratuitous answer? Why is it that you are able to speak the word at the right moment and not the wrong moment? That is because you are well aware, constantly aware of just how loved you are by our Father. And when you know that your supply comes from Him, you know you can give, you know you can lift up, without caring for yourself. In fact, you can even say to those around you,

“…my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:19

“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

Because you know that when you need anything, at any time, all you need to do is ask.

Beloved, being kind, withholding that gratuitous hurt and turning the other cheek is really an exercise in reminding yourself of just how loved you are; for the more you are amazed at your generosity, the more you realize just how much our Father loves you.

So get out there and give that appropriate answer. Speak the word at the right moment and delight in the realization that there is plenty more blessings coming your way.

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