Authored by Lou Geense
Read: Eph. 4:29; James 3:2-12
Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. Prov. 17:28
It is like I can see the sign right in front of me. Actually, it was grade 4, where I sat near the front of the class due to my tendency to be easily distracted. There on the board in front of me was this sign: IT IS BETTER TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED AND APPEAR TO BE STUPID, THAN TO OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND REMOVE ALL DOUBT!
That phrase puzzled me. Did that mean that I should not ask questions – which is what I thought and did. Without some explanation that message confused me, especially because it was in a place where learning was to take place.
What Proverbs is pointing to is that using words can be tricky, regardless of how wise we are. We can use words thoughtlessly. They can cause much damage, some of which can’t be undone. Words spoken are like tooth paste out of the tube – you just cannot get it back in. Words demand our utmost care.
Ephesians 4:29 indicates that I have a responsibility for what people hear in my words.
It’s not enough for me just to say what I think in order to vent and feel vindicated. I need to say it in a way that is helpful for others, and in a way that they can understand. If I am not ready for that, then maybe I should say less and listen more.
Jesus says, “By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt. 12:37). That’s because words are not just about me. They are about my relationship with others.
If my words cannot bring healing, reconciliation or an expression of love, then for the sake of relationship and testimony it is wise to just remain quiet. May the Holy Spirit prompt my heart and mind to remember the power of words.
Lord Jesus I know that words matter. Forgive me for the words of pain and hurt that I have spoken. Holy Spirit remind me often to speak love and grace. Amen.