Friday, October 15, 2010

Verse of the Day - The Tongue of the Wise

"The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness." - Proverbs 15:2

Squished in between two of the most famous verses from the book of Proverbs, this verse is often overlooked. However, it offers great insight into our daily use of words, knowledge, and discernment.

So often we are surrounded by people who have lots of knowledge, but have little discernment as to when to put that knowledge into words. They constantly speak their mind, seemingly oblivious to how their words affect those hearing them. They run people down with their words, and don't care about anything except that they are right, that they know everything (or, at least, a lot), and that others should respect them more. We all tend to be this way at sometime in our life. This is the ultimate illustration of pride, and is parallel with the pride that the Devil possessed when the LORD kicked him out of heaven (See Isaiah 14:12-21).

On the other hand, the wise man knows when to "speak a word in due season" (Proverbs 15:23). He knows that, "where words are many, sin is not lacking" (Proverbs 10:19a), and "he who uses knowledge rightly is wise" (Proverbs 10:19b). He knows how to control his voice inflection, his tone, and his mind. He knows when to console, when to confront, when to rebuke, when to command, and when to praise.

And finally, we have the foolish man, who, all day long, speaks foolish things. He constantly is thinking foolish thoughts which spill over into his speech. No one, except foolish people, want to be around him. He is like "smoke to the eyes, or vinegar to the teeth" (Proverbs 10:26).

May God help us to use knowledge rightly, that we may use our words to "benefit the hearer" (Ephesians 4:29).

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