Summary: It takes a change of heart as well as a change of mind that we might speak righteously. Yet the difficult task of refining our speaking process is worth the effort, for the righteous use valued words that bring blessings
THE WORDS OF THE RIGHTEOUS
PROVERBS 10: 31-32
Words spring from the heart and are then formed by the mind. If the heart is pure, righteous speech should flow out of it. If the heart is wicked it also flows from the mouth. Yet even if the heart is pure it is not a given that righteous words will always flow out of it for the heart is willful and emotional and can speak from injury, hurt or mood. Thus control or restraint of words is always wise if we would have our words valued by others.
The images used in Proverbs for human speech indicate the value of this divine gift that we give so little consideration to and education of. Because we take speech for granted it is often just let loose and wasted or abused.
That is not what God intended when He gave us the gift of communication. He intended that we should use speech wisely and speak valved words. It takes a change of heart as well as a change of mind that we might speak righteously. Yet the difficult task of refining our speaking process is worth the effort, for the righteous use valued words that bring blessings (CIM).
I. DISCERNING RIGHTEOUS WORDS
Wisdom's words correspond to right believing, right thinking, and right action therefore they are not only righteous but lead us to become righteous. Hear in Proverbs 8:8 the testimony that righteous reality is found in wisdom's words. "All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness, there is nothing crooked or perverted in them."
A pure condition of the heart does not guarantee righteous words, for they come from godly wisdom. Righteous utterances point people in the right direction. None of them are crooked or twisted, neither are they perverse or distortions of morality.
The statement in Proverbs 10:13 contrasts discerning and foolish speech. "On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding."
It is the discerning person whose speech contains the wisdom in which righteousness is found. Discernment is found in differentiation which is the ability to go beyond the superficial and comprehend the eternal reality. On the other hand, the foolish man unknowingly makes himself a target for the rod of correction.
Proverbs 10:31 & 32 addresses the subject of talking. "The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, but the perverted tongue will be cut out. (32) The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted."
Here it is stated who has the ability to sprout or bear the fruit of wisdom. The righteous, they sprout or bring forth wisdom meaning they know how to communicate that which is truly good and suitable for the intended or beneficial end. They can unriddle difficult complications and discern the right way to proceed.
Verse 32 indicates that the just person knows what to say, that which is fitting or appropriate and is able to say it so that it is met with acceptance. As a tree naturally brings forth fruit so wise words are a natural result of uprightness (Luke 6:43-45). Thus they are fitting or appropriate (Prov. 10:14). The perverted's (those turned away from truth) speech is deceitful.
Another way to discern if the thoughts spoken are the valued words of the righteous is found in Proverbs 12:17. "He who speaks (breathes) truth tells what is right, But a false witness deceit."
The witness here is that honesty and integrity are displayed from the inner nature. The righteous speaks truth is literally "breathes forth justices." The thought is that speaking truth has become as natural to him as breathing. An unrighteous person deliberately tells lies even in court (6:17, 19; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9; 21:28).
II. THE RIGHTEOUS BLESS
Proverbs 10:6 reveals that the righteous are blessed and that the wicked are angered about it. "Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence."
This verse refers to the blessings and curses which come to men and which come from them. Blessings are bestowed as well as prayed down from above. The wicked may also speak words of blessing but they conceal or mask the violence that lurks behind them. As Jesus stated, "The evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart" (Luke 6:45).
Proverbs 11:11 states that the righteous bring prosperity to a city but the wicked endanger it. "By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down."
The righteous have a beneficial effect on society. Blessing signifies the advantages that the upright achieve for a city. Conversely the wicked citizen's mouth (not to mention their deeds) results in tearing down society both economically and morally.