There is … a time to be silent and a time to speak … Ecclesiastes 3:1a,7b, NIV
This is one of the most important verses if you desire a life of joy. This verse helps us to understand where we get into trouble a lot! The words we use really matter. Psalm 34:12-13 warns us: “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” The famous chapter concerning the use of our tongue, we find in James 3. James3:5 says: “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.”
There is a time to be silent. Our sinful nature loves to make use of our tongues. We always want to get in the last word in every argument. We want to stand up for ourselves at all costs. We want to strike back when someone uses hurtful words against us. Then, we may also use ugly, angry words and it gets us into a world of hurt. Every one of us remembers words that we wish we never had spoken, words we wish we could take back. Words have the ability to hurt and destroy. We need to learn to use our words wisely. Are the words I want to speak, really necessary? Are they helpful? Are my words kind? Will my words build up or destroy? When God renews our hearts and minds, he also helps us to tame our tongues, so that we use wise words or remain silent, to his honour.
The ability to speak is one of God’s most precious gifts to us. God has given us our tongues and our ability to formulate words, so that we could communicate with him. Prayer must be the most beautiful use of human words. God has also enabled us to communicate with one another. Our words have a creative power contained in them. We use words to encourage one another. Words spoken in love are good to hear. Proverbs 10:11 says: “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Do your words reflect being a fountain of life to others? Provers 15:4 goes on to say: “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” This is our challenge today! May our words be a fountain of life to those who hear them. So much conflict has been caused by angry words or a lack of words. We need to speak life-giving words – words like “I am sorry, please forgive me”, “thank you” or “I love you and appreciate you in my life”. Those words make a huge difference in the lives of the people we love. Use them freely and turn your world into a much kinder place!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for this tongue you have given me. Teach me how to use it wisely and to your honour. Teach me when to hold my tongue, to bless others with my silence. Help me to use beautiful, edifying words to the people around me. May my words also be pleasing in your ear. Amen.