PROVERBS FOR WEDNESDAYS – Over Doing Positive Words

Written by Ray Smith

On Monday night’s ABC News, Alan Kohler referred to the “News Sentiment Index”.

The News Sentiment Index is arrived at by: taking the total number of words in the News broadcast then, subtracting the number of negative words used then, add the total number of positive words used. The number we get indicates whether the general sentiment of the news is predominately good or bad. Encouraging or discouraging.

In “Proverbs” we see a slightly different “Word Sentiment Index”.

Last week we noted the power of negative words.

Today we are noting the way we use positive words. However too many positive words don’t necessarily achieve what we want them to. Positive words can be overdone, and lead to a loss of authenticity in what we say. We can simply be guilty of flattery, and ” a man who flatters his neighbour, spreads a net for his feet “. (Prov 29: 5).

Let’s just take one unique proverb, that can be and has been interpreted in two ways.

  1. ” It is not good to eat too much honey,

So be sparing of complimentary words ” ! ( Prov 27 : 2 ) RSV.


  1. ” It is not good to eat too much honey,

Nor is it honourable to seek one’s own honour” ( Prov 27 : 2 ) NIV.

Why the difference in interpretation?

The first version is the Old Testament Greek version. It deals with the words we speak to another person in a complimentary way.

The second version is the Old Testament Hebrew version. It deals with the words we use about ourselves. Too much talking about ourselves will not bring us the honour we seek.

So, whether it is about ourselves, or someone else, we need to be careful in how we use positive words.

When we are talking to someone about them, our words need to fit the person and the occasion as accurately as possible.

When we are talking about ourselves to someone else, our words need to accurately and humbly reflect who we are.

Too many sweet, sticky, honey words aren’t good!

PRAYER: Our Father, we pray that you will give us words that will encourage and uplift others in appropriate ways today.  May our words produce fruitful outcomes.  Please deliver us from unnecessary words about ourselves, that neither bless another person nor ourselves. May the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord.

SONG: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in your sight …

PDF Copy: Daily Reflection 24th June Overdoing Positive Words