28. The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
Proverbs 15:28 NLT
Today’s Passage is one that encompasses a simple concept, but for anyone that has ever tried to perfect something easy, like the recipe for Cacio e Pepe, you know that the simple things are often the most difficult to master.
For a little bit more nuance, here’s how the Verse reads in the KJV, “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” Additionally, I think the old adage is appropriate for this concept, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”
However, given that many of you reading this are Christians, and we’ve been Commissioned with winning souls for Christ, remaining silent can also be one of the most detrimental and damaging things that we can do.
Therefore, we must do more than simply curtail our speech, keeping our thoughts from spilling carelessly out of our mouths. If we are to accomplish the Mission God has Given us, we have to be more proactive with our words and deeds.
That means that instead of hearing an argument or a detracting statement and clamming up, we have to be ready, willing, and able to respond, but in a manner becoming Christ. This is where the question, “What would Jesus do?” becomes more than just a cute mantra.
Sometimes we have to think about the best reaction to a situation and be comfortable enough with both confrontations and our Doctrine to respond with kindness and strength. We have to be sheep amongst wolves, and like Jesus, Himself said, that requires being Wise as serpents and Gentle as doves.
As so often is the case these days, with the advent of social media and the separation of words and consequences, we may be tempted to say whatever comes to mind when we see someone’s opinion come up on our newsfeed. That level of temperance can be difficult because we may have the “perfect” comeback that will undoubtedly shut that individual up, and wouldn’t that feel good?
But is that what Jesus would say? Is our response edifying, educational, and uplifting? Will it build them up, or is it just snarky and vindictive, meant to tear down the individual as well as their point of view?
That is what we have to ask ourselves in every interaction, whether online or in-person if we claim to be Christ’s Followers. We do not have the freedom to attack people for their opinions, regardless of how offensive it may be to our delicate Christian sensibilities.
That does not mean that we are meant to simply roll over either. Matthew 10:16 says we are to be gentle as doves, yes. But it also mentions our being wise as serpents as well. That means that we are Called to be cunning and insightful as well as controlled and tactful.
Tactless people say whatever comes into their minds, spewing forth negativity like a pyroclastic flow of pessimism and unconstructive vitriol. They speak as if any of that filth is going to make a positive impact on their target.
If we are to ever make God’s Commands to reach the lost a reality, we are going to have to deny our natural response and think before we speak. That may mean silence in some cases, but it may also mean Failing Forward.
That means that we may have to get it wrong before we ever learn how to get it right. It may also mean that we may have to go back and apologize to folks for what we decided was right to say when we realize that our response wasn’t productive or well-intentioned.
Being a Child of God, like everything else in life that’s worth doing, requires work. It’s not just going to come to us without some effort on our parts. The question becomes, what is more, important to you, getting the last word or reflecting the Living Word? The choice is up to you, but the consequences of your comments may end up being eternal!
Have a Wonderful Wednesday and Remember, Though It Is Small, The Tongue Is The Most Powerful Member Of The Body. Utilize Its Power Wisely!