With an abundance of information at our fingertips, our generation is full to the brim with words, opinions, and ideologies. There has never been an easier way to share your words and wisdom with the world. There are millions of blogs and YouTube channels where people are unloading their thoughts and their ways of doing just about everything. Information is at an all-time high.
We have a choice to add value to the noise by speaking truth or to beat a drum of our opinion when we want to be heard.
We can pound out the rhythm of our own thoughts and ideas on the keys of a computer or phone. The challenge is, we never really know how far our words will reach. We hold a big responsibility to use our words wisely.
The Bible has a lot to say about our words and the way we use them. And the world has a lot to say about it too. We live in a world where nothing is off-limits.
It can sound freeing and good, but it has caused us to live in a confused culture where everyone is free to leverage their words for their own desires.
In Proverbs we find several guidelines for using our words wisely. Print these as a reminder to use your words for good.
- Use Words of Life
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence” (Proverbs 10:11).
Words used wisely offer life. It’s like a fountain of refreshment and delight. On the other hand, wicked words cut and hurt – they bring death and violence. Words of life nourish like water, feed like rain, and comfort like the sound of a fountain. Wicked words choose to cover up the disgusting evil of the world, therefore the opposite is true about words of life.
This verse gives us the very real responsibility to pour out truth about the evil being done and hidden in our culture. It’s not to cut and blast a generation of sinful people. It’s to reinforce and strengthen the ranks of believers to stand up for righteousness. This brings life to those around us. When we choose to hide the wrongs in this world, we are choosing to conceal words of life.
- Use Fewer Words
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19).
This verse gives us the idea that there is a time to use a few words. Sometimes when we want to get our point across, we keep retelling the same story over and over again in a different way. Or we beat the same drum again and again thinking this time someone will listen. Sometimes it’s good to remember to hush. Stop saying so many words. The action of restraining your words is actually wisdom in action. We rarely regret not saying something, but we often regret saying too much.
- Use Thoughtful Words. “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off” (Proverbs 10:31).
This picture gives us a drastic illustration of what will happen to a person who speaks off base. While no one is perfect and always speaking with words of wisdom, this verse will surely help all of us stop and think before we blurt out our first thoughts. Righteous words are wise words. The only other option is a damaged testimony. You may have heard it said, “It takes a lifetime to build a testimony, and only a moment to break it.” The breaking comes easily when we don’t use our words wisely. Think before you speak.
- Use Acceptable Words
“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse” (Proverbs 10:32).
In this day and age, almost anything is acceptable. And if you are the one to speak up against something, you will be the unaccepted one. The question comes when we evaluate who we are receiving the acceptance from. While the world will welcome evil and accept lies as truth, God welcomes us to abide and dwell with Him. When we abide and dwell in Christ, our words will be acceptable. When we are not abiding in Christ, our words will follow the same path.
- Use Discreet Words
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Proverbs 11:13).
Being a gossip isn’t something anyone ever aspires to be, but it happens when our words run free and we think our thoughts need to be shared. I love the word “covered” as it is used in this verse. It reminds me to literally remember to cover my mouth when I feel the need to speak, but I know I shouldn’t. Wise words know to exercise discretion and stay quiet.
- Use Caring Words
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).
This verse gives us a clear picture of the power of our words. They can either cut like a thrusting sword or they can heal like a soothing balm. What is interesting is that there does not seem to be a middle ground when the Bible talks about our words. They are either wise or they are not. So the neutral noise of sharing and spouting out ideas and opinions falls beneath one of two categories: they are either cutting or caring. Wise words care enough to think of the good of those listening.
- Use Words of Truth
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19).
An eternal mindset is what makes the difference between words that help and words that hurt. If we are speaking with eternity in mind, we will be speaking words of truth and hope and love. If we get focused on the here and now, we will get caught up in the way the world rises to success and the way the world evaluates truth. Our words matter. They are powerful and important. We have a great responsibility to speak words of life and truth to all those within earshot of our voice.
While the world is shouting and beating the drums of opinions and information, let’s put down our drumsticks and listen. When the still small voice of God prompts your heart to speak, you’ll be ready to listen to Him and give words of life to those around you. If you pick up your drumsticks and begin beating out the rhythm of what you think is most important, you’ll no longer be able to hear and speak the way the Bible tells us to.
Photo credit: Pexels/Helena Lopes
Micah Maddox is a women’s event speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Anchored In Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. Micah is on the Proberbs31 First5 Writing Team. As a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and foster mom, she contributes her time to her family and local church serving as a women’s ministry leader. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her at micahmaddox.com