The Disciple And Freed Speech (2)

In light of this, we’re instructed to be discerning—to think before we speak. “The heart of the righteous man weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil” (15:28). Sometimes this means we will choose silence over speech. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongues is wise” (10:19). Other times we may need to simply turn down the volume. “If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse,” (27:14). But most of the time it involves recognizing that “reckless words pierce like a sword” (12:18), while “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction” (16:23).

All of this runs quite counter to our culture’s value of authenticity, where people are encouraged to say whatever is on their mind because that is viewed as somehow being noble and virtuous. In actuality, it is being immature and selfish—people who practice this are thinking of themselves rather than others.

Discerning speech is freed speech. It gets us involved in the kind of conversations that bless others and bring glory to our Father. Proverbs is full of admonitions that point in this direction:

  • The lips of the righteous nourish many . . . (20:21),
  • The lips of the righteous know what is fitting . . .  (10:32),
  • A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!            (15:23),
  • Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (16:24),
  • A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (25::21),
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (15:1)

We will end where we began—with the idea that our speech is important and powerful. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone,” (25:15). There is so much good our words can do when we allow them to be guided by God through His word!



Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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