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Speaking A Word In Due Season

Don’t Water Your Pajama Pants: Speaking A Word In Due Season

I propped the hose down into my watering can and reached up to deadhead my withering petunias in the window box just beneath my kitchen window. A YouTube video had just informed me that I had been doing it all wrong.  Maybe this is why they look so sad. Full of hope that this new knowledge would revive my poor petunias, I completely forgot about the running hose at my feet. Before I knew it, water spilled over the top of my watering can and onto my pajama pants. Ugh! Water meant to nourish my flowers became a nuisance to me in the wrong location.

When talking about grace, it is important not to water our pajama pants—or our friends’ pajama pants, for that matter. How can we become people who speak words of life that nourish, instead of eroding, the marriage bond?

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

It was late in the evening, and we were leaving for vacation in the morning. All I needed to do was pick up some Band-aids from the store and return a few library books. Just as I walked out my front door, my neighbor was pulling into her driveway. I knew she was in a difficult season that was testing her faith at every turn. Before I knew it, I was standing by her car door. As she poured out her heart to me, it wasn’t long before the conversation landed on the shortcomings of her husband. My heart broke for her. I prayed silently for God to give me wisdom.

I had just been reading in Hebrews about not hardening your heart to be deceived by the deceitfulness of sin. Instead of my typical, sympathetic response, the Holy Spirit stirred a different reply in my heart. It was the kind of stirring that left me quiet, fearful, even. I fought with myself about whether to risk offending my friend. My silence was so long and unusual that my friend asked me to share my thoughts.

“Haley, if the Lord needed to kick your butt right now, what would He say?”  

Her expression fell as she pondered the question. A sheepish grin followed. As we continued to talk, I hesitantly suggested some ways in which she could turn her thoughts from resentment to gratitude for her husband. This required me to disagree with some of the perspectives she had offered earlier in our conversation. Perhaps it would do you well to ponder them as well.

  • Does your spouse come home to you each day? Be grateful for their fidelity.
  • Does your spouse work inside or outside of the home to provide for your family? Be grateful you have food in your fridge and a roof over your head.
  • Do you see your spouse’s frugality as a blessing or an impediment to your happiness? Be grateful they are seeking to live within your means instead of bringing financial trouble to your family.
  • Did your spouse have trauma in their childhood that affects them today? Be grateful they are alive and seeking to honor their vow to you.
  • Could your current situation be an opportunity to place your hope more fully in Christ instead of your spouse? Be grateful that your God is a God of hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:4-5).

The end of Proverbs 15 says,

“The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.” (Proverbs 15:31-32)

My wise friend hugged me before we parted ways, a gesture of genuine gratitude. Then she took me inside her house to give me some Band-aids and offered to return my library books because they were headed there the next day. As I walked in the door of my own home, I experienced joy deep in my soul from speaking a word in due season.

The seeds of this story were planted in my own heart a decade ago when I received a timely rebuke offered in love. Until now, I had never thought about the faith and courage it took to deliver those life-giving words to me.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

When flowery words of sympathy are inappropriate, ask the Lord to help you know it. Pray that He will make you a friend who speaks (and receives) a word in due season. May His joy be yours when you do.