A Spoonful of Sugar

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24

Mary Poppins said it best. “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” To find such simple and powerful wisdom in a Hollywood picture these days is rare. The power to heal is in the medicine, but the power to get you to take it is in the sugar.

One application of this deals with the power of kind words. “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1) and “pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). In the case of this last verse, sugar actually ends up being the medicine! We cannot underestimate the effect that a few kind words can have on a person at any given time.

I read about a male hairdresser who scheduled an appointment for a lady one evening who wanted her hair done up for a big event. During the session, he made friendly conversation with her and was very amiable and affirming, remarking on her beauty. She thanked him and went on her way. A couple of days after this, the hairdresser got a handwritten letter from this woman, who told him that the big event she was planning to attend was her own suicide-funeral. She was going to take her life and wanted to look all done-up for the event, but spending an evening with him and hearing how kind he was changed her mind.

There are tons of stories just like this, and some of you have a few of your own. In our journey to understand the power our words have in this world, let us also strive to speak more kindly and lovingly to the people we encounter every day, knowing that for some, our words are like medicine.