Solomon said, “The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd” (Ecclesiastes 12:11). A “goad” is a sharp stick, used to control an animal. Metaphorically, words persuade or stimulate us, usually to do good or do evil.
We preach and warn people to persuade them that pursing righteousness is the best possible goal (Matthew 6:33). The speech should be appropriate (Colossians 4:6), and its purpose is always to bring people into compliance with God’s Word, to bring those who sin to repentance. Jesus told Paul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). If someone is trying to “goad” you, listen to them — and maybe change your life.