“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little? The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom.” Proverbs 10:19-21 NKJV
I opened my Bible app this morning and there was Proverbs 10:19. It’s amazing how one, seemingly small, scripture can have such huge ramifications if we allow it.
“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking . . . “
How often do I say too much? How often do I speak the truth, not in love but out of some misguided need to set people straight? Even as I write this, I have to ask myself if I’m measuring my words and speaking truth that will draw people closer to Jesus. I’m not always good at restraining my lips. I’m a rule follower to the nth degree and often to my own detriment. So when I see something not being done “right” I often feel the need to correct it.
“. . . But he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver . . .”
Learning to restrain my lips is no easy task. And I don’t think it means we never speak up, but rather, we use wisdom about when to speak and when to stay quite, about what to say and what not to say, and how to say it. Our words are valuable and carry weight.
“The heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom.”
Are my words feeding others? Even when I disagree wholeheartedly, do the things I say to others bring life or death? The Bible tells us that God is not “willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And I have a role to play in that as a follower of Christ. Whether it be with my children, my spouse, the cashier that is taking too long, the political views others spew, or even behind the wheel (finger pointed firmly at myself), my words can destroy or build up. They can bring peace or division. They can point to Christ or away.
There’s an old saying “You may be the only Bible a person may ever read”, and while I’m not responsible for the decisions others make to follow Christ or not, I am responsible for bearing witness to Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” We cannot be careless, cutting, or conniving with our words. They are just too valuable.