A wise person chooses words carefully.

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint. – Proverbs 17:27a

Foolish people are not going to do wise things. Those who think they are wise don’t realize how foolish they are. The one who uses wisdom and knowledge correctly knows the fear of the LORD  and will be blessed. Furthermore, the one who uses words sparingly is one who demonstrates great mastery of knowledge. However, no one is able to fully bridle the tongue, or that person would be perfect and sinless. There was only one person ever able to do that, Jesus our Messiah.

Do you know or have ever known a really talkative person? Now, have you known a talkative person that just spouted off at the mouth without thinking before speaking? Solomon tells us here that such a person is either void of knowledge (implied) or lacking in knowledge. “Smart” people learn to put their brains in gear before they put their mouths in motion. However, most people fail to follow this last adage. Most of us, if we’re honest, will admit that we blurt out things without thinking first. Then, we end up paying a hefty price for our poorly chosen and poorly timed words.

I first learned of the above-mentioned adage while sitting in my fourth grade math class. My teacher had a plaque hanging on the wall with these words, “Put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion.” Now, one might think that I am going to elaborate on some great story of how I learned early on this great lesson and practiced it throughout my life. WRONG! Boy, did I ever miss the mark on that one! I wished I had taken that lesson to heart at an early age and practiced it constantly. I would have avoided so much trouble in life!

I am just as guilty as most of us at having run my mouth without thinking or just ripping into people with words. The Bible tells us that The Word, the Bible, is alive, quick, discerning of our innermost thoughts and desires, and SHARPER than any double-edged sword able to cut apart spirit from soul and bone from marrow. The Bible also tells us that our words have power because there is the power of life AND death in our tongue. We can build up or tear down people with our words. The wise and knowledgeable person will refrain from rash speaking. That person will choose words carefully so as to bring life not death.

Although our tongues are instruments of life or death and set on fire by hell, we can work and practice at being more cautious in our word choices and when and where and how we apply them. Our goal should be to do exactly as Jesus did. He only said and did what He heard the Father tell Him to do. Boy would we ever have different lives and experiences if all we ever did was what God told us to do! Let’s all aim for that higher goal and be like our Messiah and Big Brother!

Father, how convicted am I! I wish for almost nothing greater for myself than to tame and cage this unruly tongue of mine. I have loved and hurt so many people over time just with words! The child’s saying that sticks and stone break bones but words never hurt IS SO WRONG! Words have a longer lasting effect on the heart and soul of a person than any physical injury might have. I pray LORD that You would reach out and touch any and every person I ever hurt with words and relieve them of the pain that I caused them. Forgive me of such rude and inexcusable behavior. I want to be a man of restrained words and to love people and build them up with what I say rather than destroy them. Help me to be humble in word and deed. I need Your help, for I cannot do this alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.