Proverbs 15:2 – The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.
Proverbs 15:2 has hung around as one of my favorites for a number of years. The tongue is one of our most powerful tools. Our words are capable of affirming the value of our loved ones, mending broken hearts, and helping others to gain useful and important information. Our words are also capable of destroying relationships, deeply wounding hearts, and disseminating lies. Our tongues are capable of worshipping or blaspheming God. No wonder Proverbs 10:19 says wise people guard their tongues.
Life is more peaceful and enjoyable with healthy communication. As a younger man, I was more prone to spouting my opinion regardless of how it was received. I took responsibility for the factual content of my words, but I regret times when I could have spoken with more understanding. I am grateful for those who have generously remained loyal as God continues to season my speech with grace and love. Here are two questions that I am still learning to ask myself before I speak. First, “Does it need to be said?” And second, “How do I say it in the most appealing way?”
Does it need to be said? Just because your opinion or information is correct does not necessarily mean anybody needs to hear it. And many are not right and wrong issues anyway. It is sometimes acceptable and even better to allow another to learn by doing. If it doesn’t need to be said, then don’t. Sometimes the worst that can happen is for us to speak into situations where we are not welcome. So, let it be. In the words of the great Packers quarterback Brett Favre, “Nobody likes a smarty pants!”
How do I say it in the most appealing way? Some things do need to be said. Relationships require active communication. Also, certain situations demand the sharing of ideas and direction. The Bible directs to speak the truth in love. Engage your brain before igniting your tongue. What needs to be said? What is the best way to communicate the information? How will the hearer receive your words? Can you say it so that others will be motivated to consider your words? A wise person makes knowledge appealing.
May the words of our mouths be a blessing to the people around us and to the Lord who hears us.
Ephesians 4:29 – Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.