In Proverbs 29:20 the Bible says, “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Terrible battles, wars, destroyed relationships, ruined friendships and shipwrecked marriages have resulted from hastily uttered words. Words are powerful and forceful things and can cause both blessing and cursing, good and bad, healing and destruction. They can be encouraging and constructive, or dreadful and harmful. Our words can lift up, rebuild and restore or they can tear down and break hearts.
Great caution must be used with our words…they’re far more tangible than we tend to think. In fact, Solomon said in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue...” Words can be very painful weapons and cause damage very easily. In chapter 19 of the book of Job, we find that his “friends” had said such cruel things to him that he responded “…How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?” (vs 1-2) This was his plea for mercy and shelter from their foolish words. Those we trust the most tend to cause us the most pain by their comments. Most of us have heard someone say something hateful and harmful and then add “…Aw I didn’t mean that…” or “…I take that back…” But we all know it is too late once the words have been said. Words are like cannon balls fired from a cannon. Once fired there’s no recalling them and all that you can do is watch the damage be done. On the other, it isn’t just negative results. Again, concerning the power of words, we find Job saying “How forcible are right words…” (Job 6:25). Solomon said in Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pitchers of silver!” It will make us all more useful to the Lord if we’ll look for opportunities to say, “a word FITLY” and rightly of a pure heart. In times of heated conversation or distress or excitement – the best favor you can do for yourself is take a moment to choose your words. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards,” in other words – think before you speak. An old saying is “I will begin to speak when I have determined that what I am about to say would not be better left unsaid.” In the margin of my Bibles (all of which are of course AV 1611) I have written the old phrase “least said is soonest mended.” Ecclesiastes 5:2 says in part “Be not rash with thy mouth…” and in verse 3 “…a fool’s voice is known by a multitude of words.” See also Matthew 12:36! Solomon said “in a multitude of words there wanteth not sin” – which of course means, in modern parlance, the more one speaks the more opportunity for something sinful to be said.
Lastly, I would urge you: Say the things you ought to say now, before time runs out. Tell your loved ones you love them while you can. The day is coming when your chance to say it will be gone. Perhaps you should tell someone plainly what you hope they know…because they deserve to hear it. Calvary Baptist Church is preaching the Bible, singing God’s praise and standing on the promises of Christ our King! Come, bring your family and join us at the Lord’s house. 703 Gillespie Rd, Palestine, Texas.
Malcolm Harrison is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine. Find church services and columns online at calvarybdpalestine.com.