Summary: A look through the book of Proverbs as we gain practical knowledge about everyday living by gaining wisdom.
BE WISE - WORDS
August 4, 2019
Do you remember that old nursery rhyme . . .
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt!
In reality, don’t you wish that was true?! Most of us would rather have the sticks and stones thrown at us, because the wounds of vicious words can really hurt. And if you hear negative words enough, we start to believe what we’ve heard. We become and believe those words in our hearts, even though we know in reality they aren’t true. But somehow . . . we make them true. We make them our reality.
Well, we’re in our 6th week of looking at the book of Proverbs. And as I read over this book, I’m struck again and again at the wisdom contained in this book. Of course, Proverbs is part of a section in the Bible which is called Wisdom Literature, but what we can gain about ourselves and how we should live our lives in a way which honors and glorifies God is remarkable.
For the past 2 weeks, we’ve kind of been on this topic, but dancing all around it. We’ve talked about what it means to be friends, about giving advice, and today we’re looking at our words, more specifically, how we talk to one another. It’s important for us to learn and to teach our kids what it means to speak with wisdom.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a store and there’s a parent or grandparent just barking at their kids. In fact, the other day we were at the grocery store, and there was this grandmother with 3 younger kids with her, all pushing shopping carts which were fully loaded, and she was yelling at them. I’ve seen parents swearing at their little kids about their conduct in stores.
And I wonder how many people may have looked at me on those bad days and thought, ‘That guy needs to calm down with his kids.’ I never swore at my kids, but I’m sure they tried my patience a time or two.
So, how can we better learn to use words which build up and don’t tear down. Even when at home, as adults, we sometimes get upset and say things which are not the best. How can we learn from Solomon about how we speak to one another.
As we start, I want to jump to a passage from the book of James which will help us. James tells us –
3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds,
they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. – James 3:3-10
Isn’t this true? Our tongue is so small, but think about the damage or the good it can do. That’s James point. A bit steers a horse, the rudder controls the ship. Yet, out of our mouths we praise God and curse God, we praise his creation and we tear it down. Our mouths build up and encourage, and within moments, we’re beating someone up with our words.
That’s why the words of Solomon are so important.
If we can't seem say the right things or even keep quiet, it threatens all of our relationships. Of course, we know some people find it easy to express themselves. Some can talk on and on and on, others say few words, but when they speak, we listen closely. Neither are wrong, it’s a product of our personalities.
I read that the Ten Commandments contain 297 words, Psalm 23 has 118 words, and the Lord's Prayer is 56 words long.
Yet, in a recent report, the Department of Agriculture needed 15,629 words to discuss the pricing of cabbage. It's not the ability to use a lot of words that makes a difference, it's being able to use the right words.
I really believe we need to be careful when we use our words. It’s the old adage, if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything. Sometimes, that’s really good advice.