A Word Aptly Spoken

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
The tall man stepped to the platform of the train, and looked at the crowd arrayed before him. His angular features reflected the gravity of the moment. He understood the importance of what he was about to say.
The site was the place where thousands of men had fallen in battle, the critical moment in a bitter, heart-breaking war. The time had come to speak the words that would begin the healing. Conversely, the wrong words might tear the nation apart again. He had to find the right words. He began slowly, haltingly, then began to pick up steam. The crowd listened — it was hard to tell how they were taking it. These were relatives of the men who were killed, colleagues, the wounds were still fresh and painful.
The speech ended, and the crowd sat in silence. The speaker sat down heavily, convinced he had failed. But he was wrong. The crowd had been stunned by the breadth of the dream, silenced by the eloquence of its simplicity. They were so moved they could not respond.
You know the speech. It began, oddly, with an account of how many years had passed: “Four score and seven years” earlier, their leaders had given birth to a dream. Abraham Lincoln wanted that dream to be revived. And his Gettysburg Address went a long way in accomplishing that aim.
The nation survived, and grew, and prospered. You never know the good you will do if you say the thing you need to say. “I’m sorry.” “I believe in you.” “Thank you.” “I forgive you.” You may not see immediate results, but they may occur anyway.
Think it through. Be brave. Then say what needs to be said.

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