October 11, 2015
From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive (v.23).
READ: Proverbs 16:20-30
In April 2014 a blogger was sentenced to 3 years in prison for slander and spreading online rumours. He was the first among hundreds of bloggers detained in a crackdown on internet rumours being spread in social media. The authorities said that the arrests were aimed at maintaining social order, but rights groups saw this crackdown as an attempt to limit freedom of speech online. There continues to be much discussion, debate and disagreement on the uses and abuses of social media, not only over what’s been blogged but also in the way words have been used.
In Proverbs 16 the wise person is contrasted with the unwise. The way people talk can reveal a lot about them. It’s often through words that a person is exposed as wise or foolish.
The wise person discerns and knows when and how to speak a timely word. “From a wise mind comes wise speech” (v.23), for “the wise are known for their understanding” (v.21). They’re called “discerning” (v.21 NIV). The wise person speaks careful, appropriate, pleasant and gracious words that persuade and instruct—bringing encouragement and life to the hearer (vv.21-24). “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” In contrast, a foolish person is controlled by a tongue that destroys, divides and deceives (vv.27-29).
Whether having a conversation face to face or blogging in the social media, the words we choose are reflections of who we are and of the God we serve. Paul wrote, “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” (Ephesians 4:29). Wise words flow from God. May we follow His lead in all we say today.
365-day-plan: Acts 4:5-22
Read James 3:2-11 and consider what it says about the power of words.
Go to someone in need of encouragement. What pleasant words can you say to him or her? How can you honour God better with your speech?