You are What You Speak

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How many times have you told someone something, and regretted it?  You start arguing about something silly, and before you know it, an all out verbal war ensues.  Where did things go wrong?  You don’t remember where the discussion turned into an argument, but now the damage is done!

Proverbs 13 is full of practical advice, but one verse that really stands out is verse 3, which focuses on our speech:

“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” [Proverbs 13:3]

Although there is amazing content in Proverbs 13 on a number of topics, verse 3 makes it easy to focus on how the spoken word impacts our lives.  Verses 5 and 6 follow up to illustrate that we should strive to be righteous.  When we consider righteousness in terms of our speech, this becomes a call to honesty:

“The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench
and bring shame on themselves.  Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” [Proverbs 13:6-7]

Verse 10 extends this discussion to show where the source of our strife comes from.  We know that pride blinds us from our weakness and brings out repulsive traits, but it also keeps us from being sympathetic in our discussions with others, and creates strife in our relationships.

“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” [Proverbs 13:10]

Although a number of verses throughout the remainder of Chapter 13 stand out, the following two bring out traits that are important in our relationships and communication with others.  We have already talked about the focus proverbs puts on honesty, but verse 12 helps us realize we have an important calling to help others succeed.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” [Proverbs 13:12]

As Proverbs 13 closes out, it touches on the importance of discretion.  People often paraphrase Luke 12:48 “When someone has been given much, much will be required,” to illustrate how riches should be managed.  This verse also comes to mind when we read Proverbs 13:17, since it illustrates that information entrusted to us must be protected:

“A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.” [Proverbs 13:17]

So, to sum it all up, Proverbs asks us to guard what we say, be honest (righteous), avoid pride (it creates strife), lift people up, and always use discretion (avoid gossip).  It is our prayer at that your communication will be filled with God’s clarity and peace, resulting in stronger relationships and success in everything you do.

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