The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.
Proverbs 10: 20
A wee confession to make before I share today’s thoughts. I gave you an incorrect reference to the passages yesterday. I wrote that it was Proverbs 10, when in fact it was Proverbs 9.
I am choosing this one verse as it represents a few verses in this chapter where Solomon talks about the words that come out of our mouth and what they say about us.
When I was a boy growing up I can remember a few times when my Mom would say to me, “If you have nothing good to say about the person, then don’t say anything at all.” I’m sure most people have heard that little saying quoted at some point in their life. Some of the sayings that I remember hearing were easy to remember and yet were chock full of truth. And this is one of them.
However, another saying that is definitely not true is, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” As the vast majority of the human population can attest to is that in fact, words do hurt, and sometimes to the core. Now I understand that we are growing up in an age where we defend our ‘right’ to free speech, and I am one who would uphold that. But I think we flex the ‘rights’ muscle way more than we do the ‘responsibilities’ muscle. When it comes to the words that we use with others, wisdom recognizes that the onus is on us to choose our words carefully and to choose those words that extend honour and dignity to a person, rather than reducing them as a person. For example…
The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain (v.11)
Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding (v.13)
The words of the godly encourage many (v.21)
The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice (v.31)
The lips of the godly speak helpful words (v.32)
What’s interesting as I ponder these words is the truth that I can actually choose how I am going to respond to someone. Will my words heal, or will they harm? Will my words feed, or will they starve? Will my words encourage, or will they tear down? And the list could go on.
Unfortunately, there are times when my emotions get the better of me and my words do more harm than good. It is then that I need to heed this piece of wisdom from Solomon:
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. (v.19)
And that’s just good ol’ fashioned discipline, my friend! 🙂