WATCHING our WORDS CAREFULLY: "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom. The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Prov 10:19-21; 12:19, 22)
The message from God’s Word for us is very clear – we who call ourselves as God’s children cannot afford the luxury of speaking idle words. We have an added responsibility to guard our tongues at all times. A word that we speak improperly and without thinking can have great repercussions. A word that is spoken at a moment of passion or anger can never be taken back. No matter how much we apologize, the wounds caused by our hurtful words takes a very long time to heal. People may forgive us, but some will never forget the hurt and pain that the words had caused. James counsels us that our tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (James 3:6), it is evil and full of deadly poison (v. 8b). That may be the reason why our tongues are not exposed, but is caged in our mouth and sealed with our lips. If we do not stumble with our words, we can be ‘perfect’ and will be able to control our whole body as well (v. 2).
We should honor God through our words by doing the following:
- We should show discernment and carefully filter the words that we speak (Prov 10:19; 21:23)
- We should use positive words always – even to address things that we are passionate about (Prov 15:1-2)
- We should avoid words that reflect poorly on us, since we are God’s children. Eph 4:29 tells us that no corrupt words should come out from our mouth, but only words that would edify others and impart grace upon the people who hear us.
- We should restrain ourselves and allow all gossip about others to end with us – nothing should go beyond us. We can never know when any words that we speak without thinking can come back to haunt us later on.
Let us follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose words were gracious (Luke 4:22) and life giving (John 6:63). He restrained His words before the Roman Governor Pilate in such a way that Pilate was amazed (Matt 27:11-14). Let us also watch our words wisely – for they have the power of life and death!
"A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!" (Prov 15:23) "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." (Prov 25:11) "The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary." (Isaiah 50:4)