A Little Goes a Long Way by Kathy Hendley, PhD

A Little Goes a Long Way

by Kathy Hendley, PhD

“Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor” 

(Ecclesiastes 10:1, NASB 1995).


Once upon a time, I lived in a small, rural town in Georgia. We owned a perfect new house. One day, however, I noticed a smell from the kitchen sink. I got to work cleaning the sink, but the smell refused to budge. So, I cleaned the garbage disposal. The fresh lemons did nothing to the stench I endured. I went to the bathroom to wash my hands, and the smell assaulted me there, too. Evidently, the water had been contaminated by sulfur. In such a small amount, the water treatment facility assured us it was safe to use and drink.

A microscopic amount of sulfur in the water supply made everyone’s water stink for miles around. Similar to dead flies in a perfumer’s oil, stench alerts us to stay away. Bad word choices do the same for the reader.  One poorly written review can throw the best of writers into a slump. The same is true for the words we speak to ourselves. We can talk ourselves into victory or defeat.

The foolish comment, the second guess, and the repeatedly deleted paragraph weigh down my heart and my gift as a writer. The one called by God to speak truth will be given wisdom and honor. I cannot allow even a small amount of discouraging talk in my mind. A little negativity weighs heavier than positive thoughts. Like sulfur, those foolish words will not easily dissipate. It took months for the water in my Georgia home to return to its clean state. Some days, I could still smell it, though.  I had to remind myself that it was okay. I need to do the same concerning my writing.

Lord, remind us of the calling you placed on our lives. Give us the wisdom to speak kind words over our writing. Let us be diligent in keeping out the flies” by reminding ourselves of the gifts you have given us. 


Kathy Hendley headshotKathy Hendley earned a PhD in education and has over 20 years of experience. Her mission is to
help students, families, and schools deal with the effects of trauma in our current society. Kathy
is a member of Word Weavers International and serves as a board member for Write at Home.
Learn more from her website at https://kathyhendley.com/

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  1. What a great analogy! As one who enjoys writing reviews, it was a kind reminder that any criticism can crush the spirit of a writer. Integrity in writing reviews is a challenge for me, as I want to be honest for readers, yet encourage writers! Thank you for this gentle reminder. I don’t want my feedback to be toxic for anyone.

    1. Thank you for the encouraging comment.

  2. Becky Van Vleet says:

    Well said, Kathy. I often find the little negative thoughts creeping in, weighing me down, even though tremendous positive accomplishments and goals are happening with my writing. I really like the version of this Bible verse!

    1. Thank you, Becky. I got the idea from a marketing newsletter I received. The author suggested that we block negative people from our newsletters and feeds. After coming across this verse, I knew he was onto something.

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