Watch Your Words!

Michael Beck

“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” (Deuteronomy 32:29)

Walking softly before the Lord entails hearing from Him before speaking to man. Knee-jerk responses to what’s happening around us rarely end well. Painful consequences are in store for us when we move in haste, not watching where we’re going. So Paul admonishes us: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Eph. 5:15)

Our words are a powerful force: for good or evil; they can heal or wound.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)

“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” (Proverbs 12:18)

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

“The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.” (Proverbs 16:21)

The prudent person is able to foresee potential consequences of their actions. They don’t operate as a “bull in a china shop.” “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Prov. 22:3) In our anxious desire to straighten out a problem, we inevitably create a bigger mess. In ourselves we are very poor doctors. In our highmindedness, we think we know what others need, but our attempts to make people well only makes them sicker.

God alone can give us the wisdom we need to speak a word in due season. He can keep us from speaking words that fall wide of the mark we’re aiming for. Our wrath, our often harsh attempts to get another to do right, do not work the righteousness of God. (James 1:20) And so we are called to move much more slowly in addressing the wrong we see around us:

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19)

Will we be prudent? Will we be circumspect? Or will we walk as a fool? Each of us has a powerful affect on those around us. We will not only be known by our actions but by our reactions. May we not learn when it’s too late the damage we have done by our imprudent speech. Today, let us begin to walk in the meekness and gentleness of God’s wisdom. He will be our strength and enable us to speak words that are acceptable in His sight. (Ps. 19:14)

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” (Proverbs 10:32)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.