Again and again Solomon reminds us that our speech is powerful. James tells us that our speech gives us insight into the state of our heart – is it divided or not? In Matthew we read that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and James goes on to say that you should not be having blessing and cursing coming out of the same mouth. The truth is what we say can help or hurt people. Sticks and stones may break our bones but words they can destroy us. Throughout Proverbs Solomon tells us how we can use our speech for building up instead of tearing down.
He tells us that our words can bring peace to a situation.
- Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) 1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
He is not encouraging us to be doormats and let people walk all over us, rather he is advising us that when we disagree (as we inevitably will) be gentle in your speech and this can help defuse the situation and bring a peaceful settlement to the disagreement.
Our words can help bring restoration and instruction to those who have fallen into sin.
- Proverbs 25:12 (NIV) 12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear.
Our words can give wisdom to those in need of it.
- Proverbs 15:7 (NIV) 7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.
Our words can give
encouragement to those who are in despair.
- Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) 24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
How many times I have been blessed and encouraged by those who have spoken words of hope in the middle of my discouragement. Those people are precious to me. You see, most people seem to think that they have the gift of criticism and they exercise that gift freely, but many times we need the encouraging words along with the words of correction. The people who know how to balance this are people I love to be around.
Are your words bringing life and hope to others?
Are you helping to bring wisdom, instruction, restoration and encouragement to people?
We walk in the image of God when we use our words for these purposes.