Last night’s reading from Proverbs was Proverbs 18:4 – “A person’s words can be life-giving waters; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” (NLT) My words can be life-giving; they can be wise. Then why is it that they are sometimes stupid? I open my mouth and say things that are critical or make a promise that I know I might not be able to keep. I sin with my words. And I know that I hurt people this way.
Words have power. I know this. But, I don’t pay nearly enough attention to it. Proverbs 10:19-21 says “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.” (NIV) I can relate to this. There are days that, the more I say, the more of a mess I make. Sometimes it’s best to keep my mouth shut.
But, mostly, my words must be preceded by prayer; they must be the words of “the righteous”. Who is righteous? In the final analysis, only Jesus is truly righteous. For my words to be nourishing to my family and friends, I must be close to Jesus and say the things He wants me to say. The more that I talk, the less I’m listening to God – hence, “when words are many, sin is not absent”!
There is so much the Bible has to say about our words. Today, I pray that my words will be wise words, words that build up my family, spoken with love and grace. And, I pray that for you as well.