On Feb 25, Curt Schilling – famous pitcher of the Baltimore Orioles and more so of the World Series winning Boston Redsox – typed a twitter post congratulating his daughter, Gabby, for being accepted to play softball in College. It was a proud Dad moment. But the message responses turned unclassy and perverted quickly. The twitter messages gave a public portrayal of stereotypical male locker-room talk but it crossed far over the line into unacceptable explicit language and even rape. Again, this was all done in a public social media format.
So, Curt Schilling defended his daughter by researching the harassing “twitter trolls” and reporting them. One person was suspended as a student from college and the other was fired from his job.
Today’s world of talk radio, incessant news and social media and constant conversation has created a world of thoughtless and trivial talk. People are decreasingly responsible for their words. The next generation is growing up behind electronic screens where little is real to them. Many have little discerning connection between their real life and the virtual world. So much more could be discussed on this and is an entirely different topic.
Yet, what is to be understood is that every person is accountable for the words they speak/sing/share/send. Our comments, status updates, tweets, and even thoughts require accountability. Ultimately, our words are weighty indicators of our worship. Proverbs 18:4a “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters”
Jesus says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks… on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34b, 36-37).
EXAMINE Proverbs Title: My Words Before God
The book of Proverbs places high priority on the power of speech. References to our words, lips, mouth, or tongue number at least 158x in Proverbs. The intent is to promote speech that is honoring to God and helpful to others.
God has chosen words to carry power. It was God’s words created life as He spoke the world and all creation into existence (Genesis 1; Hebrews 11:3). Satan twisted and cast doubt on God’s words, which led to the fall of humanity (Genesis 3).
So, our words matter.
How many of you have either been discouraged or demeaned by another persons words; or perhaps it was your words that brought harm? Whoever said “sticks and stones can break our bones but words never hurt” is wrong.
How many of you have been encouraged or inspired by another person’s words? Perhaps you have these words written down, framed on your wall, or kept somehow as a reminder to motivate your life.
The book of Proverbs recognizes the contrasting power of words:
Proverbs 10:11 “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
Proverbs 10:20 “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.”
Proverbs 10:21 “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.”
Proverbs 10:31-32 “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom but the perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”
Proverbs 13:3 “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Proverbs 15:2, 4 “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly… The tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
Proverbs 16:23-24, 27 “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body… A worthless man plots evil and his speech is like scorching fire.”
Proverbs 17:7 “Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.”
Proverbs 17:27-28 “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise, when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
James 3:2, 6, 8-10 “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body… the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell… no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
Proverbs portrays the influence of our words in at least four categories.
Our words can be wasted.
We fill our time communicating and talking. Some times our words are unnecessary excessive that can produce more harm than good. We must be careful of the content, the tone and the purpose of our words so that they have the most impact and are not wasted.
à Use words minimally so they have more meaning.
Proverbs 10:19-20 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.”
à Use discernment in who you speak and how you respond. Arguments do not win relationships.
Proverbs 26:4 “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.”
Proverbs 29:9, 20 “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet… Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
à Disciplining words must be combined with the action of example as well as consequences for wrongs.
Proverbs 29:19-20 “By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.”
Our words can be wicked.
The Proverbs speak of this category very clearly.
- Seduction: Sexual sin has been and will always be one of the most captivating & contaminating sins of the soul.
Proverbs 5:3-4 “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.”
Proverbs 6:24 “[For the commandment] is to preserve you from the evil woman from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.”
Proverbs 22:14 “The mouth of the forbidden woman is a deep pit, he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.”
- Lying / Flattery: Lying is dangerous to oneself bc if one can cover their sin by lying then they will never experience the freedom and forgiveness that comes through genuine confession. Their conscience becomes desensitized and cold to the things of God.
Proverbs 6:16-17, 19 “The Lord hates… a lying tongue… a false witness who breathes out lies:
Proverbs 12:19 “Truthful lips endure forever but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
Proverbs 14:25 “A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.”
Proverbs 19:9 “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”
Proverbs 20:17 “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.”
Proverbs 21:28 “A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears will endure.”
Proverbs 24:26 “Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.”
Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
- Gossip / Slander:
Proverbs 6:19 “The Lord hates… one who sows discord among the brothers.”
Proverbs 10:18 “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips and whoever utters slander is a fool.”
Proverbs 11:12-13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.”
Proverbs 12:6 “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood but the mouth of the upright delivers them.”
Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”
Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
Proverbs 11:9 “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor”
Proverbs 11:12 “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense”
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 18:6-7 “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”
Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”
- Prideful boasting:
Proverbs 27:1-2 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth, a stranger, and not your own lips.”
à Pray for protection over your mouth & words that they not be wicked.
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight”
à Partner with each other to speak wisely and not wickedly.
– Remember some personalities speak straight-forward, some communicate cautiously. We must allow each other room within our personalities yet still remain wise in our words.
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, let you too be tempted.”
Our words can be wise.
As much as Proverbs speaks about what our words should not be, they also refer to how we should speak.
- Counsel: We must speak what is proper and true.
Proverbs 10:31 “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom”
Proverbs 15:7 “The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the heart of fools.”
Proverbs 15:23 “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is.”
Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
- Encouragement: We must speak productively to build up.
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt”
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building up, as it fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
- Reproof: We must speak based on priority for what is necessary according to godliness.
Proverbs 17:10 “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”
Proverbs 25:11-12 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”
Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
Proverbs 28:23 “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.”
à For our words to have a productive outtake we must have a positive intake of God’s Word. Make a commitment to daily read Scripture. Start with 1 chapter from Proverbs. Read books along with Bible Group & Sermons.
Our words can win souls
Ultimately, God has given us mouths that we may be His ambassadors and declare His words. Our communication is to reflect His character. Our speech is to tell of His salvation. Our words are to win souls and worship God.
Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures/wins souls is wise.”
Proverbs 15:30b “good news refreshes the bones”
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Proverbs 25:14 “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.”
Proverbs 25:25 “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”
à Remember, invest – invite – intercede for Easter 2015.
à Christians & church is left on earth for 1 purpose: make disciples of Jesus Christ. We can do much good in 1K different ways but if we are not moving toward the gospel then we are disobedient to our purpose.
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
- Jesus is the living word made flesh (John 1).
- Jesus’ words are spirit and life eternal (John 6:63; 6:68)
- Jesus’ words have authority (Matt 24:35; Lk 4:32; 9:26; Jn 8:31; 15:7)
- Jesus’ words amazed people (Matt 7:24-26; Mk 10:24; Lk 4:22; 19:48)
à Words flow from the heart… if your heart does not belong to God then your words will be wasteful, wicked and unwise.
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