"A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word"
There is a brightness and pleasure that spreads over your whole being when you know that you have spoken the right words and phrases into someone else’s heart.
It strengthens the other person
It strengthens you
It strengthens the relationship
In most cases the apt answer is a positive, encouraging word of affirmation. Even when the apt answer is a word of rebuke, it can and should be wrapped in love and care.
People need others to give them a timely word – a message of encouragement of what they are doing right, of their strengths, or a word noticing their positive effort or positive contribution or positive impact.
What is amazing is that this apt answer gives joy to the giver and the hearer, and yet this kind of speech is all too rare. We see the insightful criticism as more intelligent. We see the opposing theory as more important to be shared than the encouraging word.
Our people skills on this one idea alone – an apt answer – are abysmal.
It is interesting that this proverb talks about the apt answer. Most people are, without speaking, asking a question. What am I doing right? What is good about me? What is worthy of praise in my life and work? Where am I making a significant impact?