Today words of Wisdom contains several verses in Proverbs that all addresses the same subject: our words. These verses compare the words of the wise with the words of fools. They also show the harm our words can cause if we don’t control them.
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,Proverbs 17:27
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
Fools find no pleasure in understandingProverbs 18:1-2
but delight in airing their own opinions.
The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.Proverbs 18:7
To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
The human spirit can endure in sickness,Proverbs 18:13-14
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
These verses serve to remind us that our words can be life and death to another person. We have the ability to control our words and use them in constructive ways that build others up. We also have the ability to use them without thought or even maliciously to hurt people to their very core. In grade school we all learned the phrase “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Wishing this was true, we try to convince ourselves to disregard the opinions of others. But in all honesty, our words can hurt deeper than almost anything. Words can attack our hearts and crush our spirits. Words effect our self esteem and our perceived value in the world. For whose benefit do we gossip about other people or start arguments about controversial topics? We may justify that we are only sharing our opinions, which we have a right to do. But is it the wise thing to do? Aren’t there times when the kind thing to do is to hold your tongue? Times when the right thing to do is to allow disagreement rather than force your opinion? Times you know that if someone else overhead your words that you would feel ashamed? It’s for these reasons that we need to be mindful about the impact our words have on others. Hurtful words are never from the Holy Spirit. We need to seek wise counsel and speak words the of life to others.
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