Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Proverbial Tongue

A profound collection of statements, illustrating practical application of Godly wisdom, is how I would describe in one sentence the content of Proverbs. Where Psalms illustrates how to be in right relationship with God, Proverbs gives direction on how to be in right relationship with others. 

Personally the verses that got my attention; increased my wisdom; convicted my heart; and gave me hope for change were those referencing the tongue. Not that I am so much a gossip (though I am sure I do) "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." ~ Proverbs 11:13; nor that I am a liar (though I am sure I have) "...better to be poor than a liar." ~Proverbs 19:22; "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish." ~ Proverbs 19:9. It for me is more the idle words I speak, that can serve as my struggle, nothing spoken from malicious intent, but perhaps unnecessary. Verse 10:19 sums it up perfectly “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise”. I would be wise to hold my tongue more often, in jest, in rebuke, in defense, in frustration.

On the other hand, I also have the gift of encouragement and am blessed by God to be able to use my tongue to bring life and healing as spoken of in verse 15:4 “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life”, and to promote and persuade as in verse 16:21 “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” However I am more keenly aware, how even this can be faulted, and less effective when done as a form of idle flattery or in nauseating abundance, like wearing out your welcome, or gorging on honey to the point of throwing up. [Verse 25:16]

Our words have the power to uplift or tear down, to bring life or death and we need to be wise in the words we let roll of our tongue. "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose." ~Proverbs 18:21

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