Measuring Our Impact On Others
In today’s reading, we see an interesting dichotomy between the impact that Solomon had on those around him and the very different impact his son, Rehoboam, had on others. In 9:5-8, we read the words of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. She had heard from a foreign land of Solomon’s words and wisdom, but she did not believe the reports at first. Interestingly, she does not say that she had to come and hear those words for herself, but that she had to come and see them with her own eyes. And what did she see? She sees happy wives, happy servants, and happy subjects. She sees that the God of Solomon is blessed as well.
We should first note that we do have a responsibility to others for our impact on them. When Cain asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” the unspoken answer was yes. (John 13:12-16, 34-35; Hebrews 10:24-25) Therefore, we need to measure what our impact is on those around us. Do we tend to promote peace, contentment, joy, and godliness in others around us or frustration, discontentment, and worldliness? Let us also notice the tool Solomon used to work the peace and happiness of those around him — his wise words. Most of our impact on those around us will come from the way we use our words. A wise person weighs his words before he dispenses them. (Proverbs 29:20) A foolish person speaks without thought of the destruction it brings on themselves or others. Proverbs 12:18 (ESV) 18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Rehoboam, on the other hand, used harsh words to lead others to sinful rebellion (see Chapter 10). His impact led to generations of division, bloodshed and pain. Most likely our words will not lead to bloodshed, but our words often lead others to sin and rebel and to years of division and pain.
A few practical questions that, if you consider them, will improve the impact your words have on others:
Is it true?
Will I be saying it in love?
Is it helpful to them?
Is this the right time to say it?
Will it lead to their good and God’s glory?
Take a moment and take stock of the influence you and your words are having on those around you. To what end are you using your influence and power over them? Ask God to make you and your tongue a catalyst for the good and godliness of others.