Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Proverbs 10:16-21 Ouch!

I don’t know about you, but these Proverbs kind of overwhelm me! There are so many different thoughts in each passage - each one so pointed - that I have a hard time focusing! This is why I am not forthcoming daily - not that I’m not in the Word - just wanting to wait on God for what He’s trying to teach me! This next set of proverbs, however, is mainly about one of my biggest problems: my mouth! 

Now, God has given me the ability to actually use my mouth in a good way, to teach, to encourage, to comfort. I have no problem getting up in front of a group and saying something. However, that strength, is also my weakness! I can get myself into so much trouble with my tongue! Going through the book of James at my church’s Bible study has been a challenge, because reading what James had to say about the tongue made me cringe!

Beth Moore points out in her James study that, in most of his letter, James uses the pronouns “you” and “they,” but when he speaks of the evil of the tongue, he switches to “we.” It apparently was a problem with which he, too, wrestled! The combination of a “gift” of gab with an opinionated personality can be deadly! So, as I read these verses today, you can guess where the LORD spoke to me:

The wages of the righteous bring them life,

    but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.   

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,

    but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.   

He who conceals his hatred has lying lips,

    and whoever spreads slander is a fool.   

When words are many, sin is not absent,

    but he who holds his tongue is wise.   

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,

    but the heart of the wicked is of little value.   

The lips of the righteous nourish many,

    but fools die for lack of judgment. (Proverbs 16-21) 

Is the LORD trying to tell me to shut up??? Well, not exactly. But He certainly is reminding me that “brevity is the soul of wit!” Where a few words will do, many are NOT needed. The more the words flow, the better the likelihood that something stupid or hurtful will come out! And James confirms this: 

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19-20)

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,  but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. (James 3:5-10)

I grew up in a family in which sarcasm was a perfected art! We thought we were funny (still do), but usually at the expense of someone else! Most of the time we kept that “in the family,” because we all have developed pretty tough hides. However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could take back words that impulsively poured out of my mouth in an attempt to be funny. But the damage was already done! I know you can all relate to this. Then there are the many times that a bit of gossip slips out, and the instant it is out there I’m filled with regret! Help me, LORD!

How can we better control this beast, the tongue??? With prayer and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to say, “Well, this is just my personality!” No! We are all new creations in Christ, and He has given us His Spirit to teach us and transform us into His image. We need to minute-by-minute surrender ourselves to Him, and we must fill our hearts with His Word, so that our thoughts are conformed to His. (Romans 12:1-2)

Will we ever be able to conquer our tongues this side of Heaven? Probably not! But we must be teachable and be willing to change! Notice that tucked in the Proverbs today is this verse: He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.  Okay, LORD, I hear you!  

No comments:

Post a Comment