“Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:23)”
“More to be desired are they (the words of God) than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.(Psalm 19:10)”
Honeycomb “is a mass of hexagonal wax cells built by honey bees in their nests to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen.” In Kenya, women would come to the door with buckets full of honey that included the honeycomb and a fair share of dead bees floating in the mix. We would strain the honey into jars but we would save the honeycomb to chew when sick. There were no local shops selling chewing gum so honeycomb was also used as a kind of chewing gum. Honey has a host of curative value. It can be put on burns, given at bedtime to prevent bedwetting, and swallowed to help breathing when your child has a cold.
The writer of Proverbs compares “gracious words” to honeycomb. Gracious words are words full of grace. Grace is when we receive a gift that we know we do not deserve and are so surprised to be blessed by. Children are taught at church that grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense or in other words, we are blessed not because we are so very good and deserving but because God, the giver, is kind and generous and loves to bless his creation with surprises. A no-good, very-bad day can be turned around by the unexpected visit of a friend who spreads sunshine on us and just enjoys being with us. Words heal. “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” “Please” and “thank you” are magic words.
Likewise, gold cannot buy true happiness or joy but a small thing like a smile or a kind word has the power to bless. “I do!” changes our destiny and our identity. So again today we reflect on how we use our words. Are they like honey, sweetening the rough times in someone’s life, and are they like honeycomb, bringing healing and health? Try to bless at least three people today with a surprise complement. Pay it forward!