Monday, May 4, 2015

A Lesson from Proverbs

By Andrea Merrell

The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, 
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
Proverbs 15:28 NIV

I think the fifteenth chapter of Proverbs was written just for me. I’ve studied it, memorized much of it, and tried to put its great wisdom into practice. But sometimes I fall short.

A gentle answer turns away wrath.

That verse is deeply ingrained in my heart, yet at times my words are harsh.

The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.

Words that pour from my mouth are sometimes filled with death, not life. How can this be?

The lips of the wise spread knowledge.

Ouch! Then where does all that stupid stuff come from?

A hot-tempered (and angry) man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.

There are times I’m angry and don’t even know why. That’s when quarrels abound.

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely (pleasant) word!

Again … ouch! Too many times my hasty, angry words are anything but pleasant. They cause me pain and regret—not joy.

So, what’s the answer to this dilemma? Verse 28 says: The heart of the righteous weighs its answers. In other words, he (or she) thinks before he speaks. He allows the Holy Spirit to filter his words before they pour out and pollute others.

The writer of Proverbs goes on to say that the person who refuses godly instruction despises his own soul. On the other hand, when we’re open to reproof, we gain wisdom, understanding, and humility. Therefore, this will be my daily prayer:

Lord, help me to give gentle answers 
and use pleasant words that never cause strife.
May my lips disperse knowledge and 
always bring me joy—not regret.
Keep me open to instruction and cause me to always think
about the impact of my words before I speak.