The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
and lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel (Prov 10:20; 20:15).
In the beginning, out of love, God spoke words of life creating this world. Shortly thereafter, wanting to deceive, Satan spoke words that led to death and destruction. Centuries later, motivated by arrogant egotism, to make a name for themselves by building the Tower of Babel, God confused languages so that people would not understand each other. Thousands of years later, out of his great love for us, God sent his son, Jesus, to this world, to speak words of life to those who would hear and understand. Through his death and resurrection Jesus not only offers us redemption, but also offers redemption for communication and conversations with a simple language of grace, love and forgiveness.
One would think it should be easy for us who are Christians to speak wise words, to always speak the truth in love. But it isn’t. As Paul reminds us in Romans that the right we want to say, we do not say, and what we hate to say we often say . We have learned patterns of wise speech, and foolish speaking from our families, from our co-workers and from the media. These patterns shape what we say. In addition as finite human beings, we are not able to see every facet of a situation, only God does hence we constantly need to seek his perspective and not lean on our own understanding.
Solomon, the wisest man on earth, recognized that right speech was something that was very challenging. He wrote over a hundred proverbs about communication. These proverbs are written in the context of God calling out to us in wisdom where we work and live – the very places where we struggle with our conversations. Just as there is a black and white contrast between Satan’s words of deception bringing death, and God’s loving words that bring life and redemption, so also Solomon paints a black and white contrast between the words of the wise and the fool. There is no middle ground. The words of the wise bring blessing, the words of the fool bring violence and evil.
God’s grace can transform your tongue into an instrument of righteousness. Through God’s power, your words can rescue people. God has blessed you with discernment which you can share from a pure heart. Through the Holy Spirit you have wisdom which can be a fountain of life that can turn a person from the snares of death.
Treasure the words that you say today. Hold your tongue, weigh your answers carefully, and remain even tempered. Speak gracious words that promote instruction. Your words have the power of life and death, so choose to speak life into every conversation. Picture your words like a honeycomb that is sweet to the soul bringing healing to weary bones and sustaining the life of your workplace, your family, and your community.
Almighty God, who speaks with love and compassion to each of us, set a guard over our mouths, and keep watch over the doors of our lips. May our words be gracious, sweet to the soul, and bring healing through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.