Have I mentioned that I’m a list maker? If you saw yesterday’s post, Planning for Wisdom, you read my bullet list for Proverbs 14.
What I failed to tell you is that when reading through Proverbs, I make a list of topics I see as I read through each chapter. Sort of like a scavenger hunt for a special little gem that peeks through all the others.
Chapter 15 starts,
“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” Proverbs 15:1
Scattered all through this chapter. little gems of truth speak of the words we say and how we say them.
It is not every single time I read the Bible that a verse jumps off the page at me, but often it does. Do you realize that our loving, all-knowing, ever-present God knew that I would be reading this chapter today long before He put in my heart to do 31 Days of Proverbs?
At least 10 of the verses in Proverbs 15 speak about our words, our mouth, our tongue and how we can use them to build up or tear down.
“So what the Bible says is, ‘how I use my tongue matters to God?'” Yep. Read it for yourself. There may be one verse that stands out to you, or you might pick up on a general theme. Here’s what that looked like in my heart and mind as I took a serious look at this chapter:
- HE HEARS: God knows our every action, and He hears how we speak and how we respond.
- HE KNOWS: He is not fooled by our words because He knows the spirit or attitude behind them.
- HE CARES: I’ll say it again. Words matter. And it’s not just what we say, it’s how we say it.
I confess, I this is a constant struggle for me. I think I’m doing pretty good, and then I hear myself say something in a not-so-nice tone, and I am humbled. If we are going to speak (and some of us get in more words than others!)–we must watch what we say and how we say it.
Years ago now, when my sweet father-in-law was in his last days on the earth, a nurse came in to check on him and asked, “Is there anything I can get you?”. His response is one that has been tattooed on my heart: “Just a kind word.”
You see, it’s not just trying hard to say the right thing, it’s speaking with kindness and love and respect. While tears come to my eyes as I write of this precious memory, I am reminded how often God has used that simple phrase to prick my conscience. Proverbs is full of those kinds of phrases, so we can safely say, yes, God speaks very directly about the power of words. If you don’t believe me, read Proverbs 15 and underline every verse that reminds you of that truth.
“A man takes joy in giving an answer; and a timely word–how good that is!” Proverbs 15:23