"She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
Have you ever found yourself doing this? Carrying out a conversation with someone in your head? I do it. All the time. Sometimes it is simply to share some special insight that I have that I am quite sure they haven't considered. Or the wise-beyond-my-years words of wisdom will surely cause them to suddenly be so enlightened that all becomes well in their world. Or so-and-so who deserves a set down will be thoroughly put into their place by my cutting wit. (Are you sensing a trend?) Recently that last scenario was playing out in my life...um, head. I had just the thing to say to this person that would shame them into silence.
And as gentle as the fall of a sledge hammer the Holy Spirit confronted the wickedness of my heart and my thoughts. I was thinking that person needed a good and somewhat public dressing down because the truth is their behavior is deplorable and selfish. But what they needed...what they still need...are words of life. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." (Proverbs 18:21).
My words could have put a temporary halt to someone else's tongue. I would have been speaking truth but why did I want to? Was it because I wanted the truth of a situation to be revealed or because I wanted Truth as the person of Christ to be revealed? There is a very big difference between those two things. That person I was confronting in my head is spiritually dead and what she needs to hear are words of life...of hope...of salvation. She lives under a death sentence...her self absorbed way of life screams of condemnation and destruction. I began to pray differently...to pray that if a conversation were to happen that His words would flow from my lips...that His Truth of the love of His Son could rescue her from the hopelessness of her life.
I learned something very important in all of this. Many things actually, but specifically that behind every word must be wisdom. Notice that the woman in Proverbs opens her mouth with wisdom. Which probably means she kept it shut with wisdom too. Wisdom knows to look past the symptom and address the disease. Wisdom knows when to speak and what to say.
I recently read the statement "Wisdom and holiness cannot be separated. The fool is not holy and the wise man is not ungodly." My words, in my home and in my head, must be both wise and holy.
Proverbs 22 reminds us that grace is on the lips of the King's friend. Grant it Lord that I would always desire to speak words of grace first to my family and then to others around me. May I continue to evaluate my speech so that I will speak words of life and not those of death.