Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
You can change your world by changing your words. Scripture says “life and death” are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). The ancient dramatist and playwright, William Shakespeare was speaking about a woman who had both outer beauty and inner beauty when he stated, “She that was ever fair and never proud, had tongue at will and yet was never loud.” That same Shakespeare warned others to, “give thy thoughts no tongue.” Some good advice! I know this from experience; the times that I learned to hold my tongue and attitude I have had a much better outcome.
A Bible Teacher I heard once said, “It was only 5 words cost Zacharias (father of John the Baptist)40 weeks of silence (Luke 1)!” I can personally certainly relate to the father of John. There have been times when I have said one foolish sentence to my wife and paid for it for days! Our spouse’s need our grace, not our gripes. It is vital to the health and growth of our marriages that we learn to think before we speak.
Solomon had an incredible understanding heart that God had given him. He had begged God for a discerning heart and the Lord gave him his desire. When you go through the book of Proverbs carefully, you sense that this man had a God-given wisdom about relationships.
I think you would agree with me that life can sure throw us some curve balls. Many start out with high hopes in marriage and home, but things don’t always turn out like we hoped, prayed and dreamed they would. Health, financial or worst of all, relationship issues mess up life’s journey. Solomon knew about all of these things and more. In this verse, He opens up and shares about the heartache of a wayward son or daughter but also about the devastation of having a sour mate.
What we are speaking of in this chapter is totally preventable. We can all change our tongue and our attitudes. There is just no place for constant criticism, nit-picking and grumbling in a marriage. An irritable wife or husband is torture. The Bible states that it actually feels like hearing a constantly dripping faucet! While the context of Proverbs 19:13 is about a wife, and while it does seem to be true that nagging is the besetting sin of women more often than men, men have an equal challenge with taming the tongue. As we apply this scripture, we can certainly do so to both a wife and husband. As the old saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
I want to make a plea. If I could I would get down on my knees and beg each of us, I would. Let’s do what we can to fill our homes with the spirit of joy! Life is just too short, my precious friend, to be unkind. I can’t imagine the pain of living with constant nagging, criticism and with no peace in the home. This kind of a life is nothing short of verbal abuse. I think we can live with just about anything but that. If there is not much money in the pot, we can make it. If health is not the best, I think we can live with that but can we live with this constant dripping? No…we cannot possibly endure for this for too long.
Notice First, the constant dripping. I am not talking about a fire hose or a volcano that blows up and then there is peace. We are talking about this constant drip, drip, drip, drip, peck, peck, peck…a consistent crabbiness. We are talking about an irritable disposition. Every day, every hour of the day, they find some reason to make themselves and others around them upset. They are cranky and touchy. The Bible says that an irritable mate is as exasperating as trying to sleep with something dripping in the corner of your room.
Secondly, notice the wonderful gift that a pleasant mate is, as though it were from the very hands of God! Sometimes we imagine that by hounding our mate about their shortcomings we will get the matter resolved, but it is not very likely. A wife needs room for God to work on her. A husband needs room for God to speak. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t communicate and talk through legitimate concerns. Legitimate matters should certainly be talked about, that is only right and just. “Stuffing” your feelings or opinions doesn’t do anything but create resentment. I am a firm believer in open communication. That being said, I think the sense that I get from this verse is that it is more style than substance that makes the difference. That is, God is concerned more about the way we go about clarifying issues than our points of contention themselves.