It happens to me all the time.
Because I just want to talk, because I just want to insert myself into any conversation, because I want to relate and connect and be counted, I frequently say things that are embarrassing, things that are mean, things that are inappropriate. Too often I speak and just like that I wish that I could grab the words right out of the air and stuff them all back in my mouth and swallow them like medicine.
The wise don’t engage in empty chatter. What good are such words?
Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception.
But of course I can’t do that. Once something is said, it can never be unsaid. And of course, once it’s said, it forever becomes a part of you. Who you are. What you stand for. Others form an opinion about you, and it is all according to what you say.
Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords.
“After all, who can hear us?” they sneer.
We don’t know when our words begin to shape us. We can’t see into the hearts and minds of others. Did we drift apart because of something I said? I can’t believe I said that to them - no wonder they gave me that funny look then walked away. I haven’t spoken to him again after that one time. I probably shouldn’t have said that. My comment received crickets. I’m so embarrassed – now I’m the joke. I hope nobody repeats what I just said. I didn’t mean for it to come out that way. I hope she keeps what I just said to herself.
With their words, the godless destroy their friends,
but knowledge will rescue the righteous.
I love Proverbs. The words in this book are simple, instructive, and right. I’ve always admired Solomon’s wisdom, his use of few words to drive home a meaningful point. Especially when it comes to words, one of my biggest stumbling blocks. Isn’t it cute how the one thing I love the most is also the one thing that causes me the most strife? Then again, isn’t that precisely the lesson?
The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.
The words of the godly encourage many,
but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.
I know that my words bring trouble when I’m counting on them to build me up instead of relying on God to do so. The holy spirit tells my heart that it is in the wrong place. I may even pray to God for wisdom like Solomon did all those years ago.
Give me an understanding mind so that I can…
know the difference between right and wrong.
1 Kings 3:9
God answers me just as he answered Solomon, when my heart moves back into the right place. God always knows when I’m being sincere. When I’m not just trying to get out of my sin, when I’m not trying to backtrack, when I’m not trying to cover it up.
I will give you what you asked for!
I will give you a wise and understanding mind
such as no one has ever had or ever will have!
1 Kings 3:12
When I’m paying attention, God gives me the words. When I keep my mouth closed and wait patiently, he teaches me what to say and when to say it. He reminds me that my words are not important, but his are.
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.
Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
And when I’m humble, and my heart is aligned with God’s, and I seek him first instead of my own strength and my own wisdom, I know that I will always have the right words.
I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
(all Bible verses are from the New Living Translation)