Reading: Proverbs 12:1-28
We saw a couple of days ago that there are a number of themes that weave their way through the Book of Proverbs, they may be the ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ (9:1). One of those themes is the way we speak to one another and the words we use. We see that again and again in this passage.
For some, their words: lay waiting for blood (6), become a trap (13), pierce like a sword (18), and those with lying lips will not last (19). On the other hand, we see that those who pursue wisdom have words that rescue them (6 & 13), and reward them (14). We see wise words heal (18), and truthful words delight the Lord (22) and will last forever (19)!
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the truth, we are afraid of what people may think of us, we want to appear more than we are, or, we are afraid of getting into trouble. Sometimes we lie in order to take an easy way out, or in some instances, we are so used to living lies that we don’t know who we are, or, what the truth even is. We have a saying in our house that truth stings for a moment, but can be healed in the future, whereas lies soothe in the present but destroy in the future. I once heard that before the Second World War, the Germans used to have a proverb that went, “Lies have short legs”, meaning they were bad in the long run. Apparently, the phrase was changed during the war to “Lies have one short leg”. Why? Simple, the propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, had one short leg!
This chapter has a further truth, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (12). I find this a deeply challenging verse; it’s easy to be hurt by people’s words. Sadly, the old school rhyme “Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me” is not true. Some words wound, pierce and hurt and it’s easy, for me at least, when hurt to “fly off the handle”. A friend of mine told me when hard words come, treat them like a bee sting, they are not fatal, try to relax and brush them away.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV 1984)
The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
Father, help me to use my tongue to build up not tear down, to heal not to hurt, to sustain not to discourage and to stir up not wind up. Lord I simply ask for help. In Jesus name. Amen.
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