The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:22–23
Godly wisdom is the ability to see and to seek what will bring us the greatest happiness for the longest time in fellowship with God. So it is no surprise that Proverbs, the Bible’s biggest repository of teaching about wisdom, repeatedly promises that life will be good if we learn to control our mouths; for hardly anything generates more misery—for us and everyone around us—than using ill-chosen words. And we should not be surprised that God appeals to our twin desires for personal pleasure and effectiveness to motivate us to employ our wisdom in controlling our speech. A well-taught mouth is clearly beneficial. It is also hard work; because, left to themselves, our mouths seem to incline to foolish and ignorant speech. When we strive to deliver nourishing oral delicacies with our tongues, we will communicate sweet phrases that change our hearers for the good. Disciplining ourselves is necessary; wise speech does not happen by accident. Nor does it occur immediately or perfectly. Patience and persistence will eventually pay dividends. As we become aware of our speech, we will become more aware of the effect our words have on our hearers, and in what situations we tend to experience the most difficulty. Eventually, we’ll be able to say with Isaiah: “The Eternal Lord has taught my tongue, so I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.”
May the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth be acceptable to you, O Lord, and change the lives of your people, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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