Solomon gave you some practical instructions in Proverbs to help you choose your words. We’re going to discuss four negative references and 3 positive references to these in Proverbs. Hopefully, these will help you choose your words wisely and carefully.
Negative References Concerning Your Words
Gossipy – Prov 18:8; 26:22. The words of a talebearer are as wounds. A talebearer is a gossip. The natural tendency of people is to be curious about things in other peoples’ lives. And when you know something, you often want to be the first to tell it. However, when you repeat gossip, you can really hurt the person about whom you are speaking. Cover it; don’t repeat it. Prov 17:9 says “he that covereth a transgression seeketh love”. 1 Pet 4:8 says, “charity shall cover the multitude of sins”.
Grievous – Prov 15:1. These are words that cause pain or sorrow. And they stir up anger. I often say, “People don’t make you mad. If you get mad, that’s a choice you make and you are responsible for your choices”. Nevertheless, it is true that grievous words do stir up anger. So, when you say something that stirs up anger, don’t blame the other person when you get an angry response. That’s on you. You would be much better off to find the soft answer, instead. It turns away wrath.
Hasty – Prov 29:20. There is more hope of a fool than there is of a man who is hasty in his words. Just consider how many bad things Solomon wrote about fools in Proverbs. And then think that when you are hasty with what you say, you are worse than a fool. If you have a tendency to speak before you think, practice W.A.I.T. Next time, ask yourself this question, “Why Am I Talking”?
Flattering – Prov 2:16; 7:5. To flatter someone is to praise them excessively especially from motives of self-interest. Politicians are particularly adept at flattery. Next time you are inclined to flatter someone, remember that a strange woman uses flattery to pick up men. You wouldn’t want to be thought of as a prostitute, now would you?
Positive References Concerning Your Words
Wise – Prov 1:6. Solomon wrote about wisdom in Proverbs more than any other subject. Wisdom is by far the best thing to speak. Wisdom is instructive. You get it from Bible reading, wise men and women, studious observations, and people who know what they’re talking about. Learn to discern wise words and then speak them at appropriate times. You can really help people with wisdom. And remember that sometimes “nothing” is the wisest thing to speak, Prov 17:28.
True – Prov 22:17-21. The words of truth are in the Bible, Jn 17:17. We should answer people’s inquiries with truth. They don’t need our opinions, our conjectures, our philosophies, our thoughts, or anything of the sort. They need truth. When we speak, we should speak as the oracles of God, 1 Pet 4:11. They don’t need to know what we say; they need to know what God says.
Pleasant – Prov 15:26; 16:24. Pleasant words come from the pure. They are sweet to the soul and health to the bones. We should strive to keep our hearts pure so that we can speak pleasant words. Because they are pleasant, they are easier to receive. And because they are like a honeycomb, they strengthen and help those to whom we speak.
Quit speaking with gossipy, or grievous, or hasty, or flattering words. Instead, start speaking wise, true, and pleasant words.