by Michelle Fitzpatrick Thomas
Our church is going through a study of God’s Word together in 2020 called “Wisdom: Seeing Life Clearly Through the Lens of Scripture.” Today’s reading is Proverbs chapter 17. My favorite verse in that chapter, and one that I committed to memory years ago says,
“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (v. 28).
I know….it’s weird that that’s my favorite verse of the chapter, but as an introvert, it has always been easy for me to keep silent. I guess that verse makes me feel okay about being such a quiet person. It has always been hard for me to meet new people or speak in public or be a leader.
It’s so interesting to me that an owl is often used as a symbol for wisdom, and one reason for this is because owls can see in the dark. As we seek the Lord and His wisdom, He equips us to “see” in the darkness of this world with spiritual eyes and to be His light to those who are sick and hurting and lost.
I think what the Lord showed me specifically this morning is that there is great power in our words….for good or evil, for life or death. We desperately need His wisdom moment by moment of every day so that we use our words to build others up instead of causing harm. It’s so easy to lash out in anger or frustration with our kids or spouses, but once our words are spoken, there’s no going back. We can be forgiven for hurtful words, but we certainly don’t want to cause lasting pain to those around us.
There are numerous verses in Scripture that caution us about the words that we use. Here are a few examples:
“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
“Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” (Proverbs 20:15)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praising and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10)
Whether we talk a lot or a little, God wants us to use wise, life-giving words. I want to commit to be more careful with my words and ask God for His wisdom before I speak. Will you join me? 🙂