13We trap ourselves
by telling lies,
but we stay out of trouble
by living right.
14We are rewarded or punished
for what we say and do.
15Fools think they know
what is best,
but a sensible person
listens to advice.
16Losing your temper is foolish;
ignoring an insult is smart.
17An honest person
tells the truth in court,
but a dishonest person
tells nothing but lies.
18Sharp words cut like a sword,
but words of wisdom heal.
19Truth will last forever;
lies are soon found out.
Lying vs telling the truth. Talking more than listening. Speaking hurtful words instead of healing words.
There’s a lot going on in this passage, but it all relates to our speech. Words matter, Solomon tells us, and so much so that “we are rewarded or punished for what we say and do” (v 14).
Maybe lying is your problem. It comes naturally to some, especially for those who don’t like confrontations. But, for God’s people, a lie is difficult to live with. Even a little one.
My problem is my temper. I’m easily frustrated and I’m also a born “communicator,” so pointed words tumble from my mouth. I have been blessed with this gift, and yet I have used it to “curse” others. The Lord has taught me the great responsibility I have to choose my words carefully. Maybe you’ve learned this too.
But it’s more than a matter of responsibility.
Jesus says: “Your words show what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45). Our words, whether rash or careful, reflect the condition of our hearts.
And, consider the source of what’s in your heart. The book of James says our tongues are set on fire with “flames that come from hell itself” (James 3:6) and wise words that are “pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere” (James 3:17) come from God Himself.
So, when we read Solomon’s wise words, we need to ask ourselves how we use our tongues. Are our words wicked or wise? The answer helps us to understand who’s in control of our hearts.
Gracious Heavenly Father, you have given us your Holy Spirit to guide our hearts, our words and our actions. We pray you will help each of us to be responsive to the guidance, so that we allow you to rule in our lives. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.