Many people suffer from “foot in mouth disease” – every time I open my mouth I put my foot in it!
We can use these verses from the book of Proverbs to reflect and medidate on how we speak.
THE BLESSINGS OF WISE SPEECH
10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life
10:20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver
10:21 The lips of the righteous nourish many
13:2 From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things,
18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
18:20 From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.
20:15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
16:21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and pleasant words promote instruction.
16:23 A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,
and his lips promote instruction.
15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the hearts of fools.
12:17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony,
but a false witness tells lies.
12:19 Truthful lips endure for ever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
16:13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips;
they value a man who speaks the truth.
14:25 A truthful witness saves lives,
but a false witness is deceitful.
24:26 An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.
12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice.
11:14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but many advisers make victory sure.
15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
KINDNESS AND GENTLENESS
1:25 An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.
15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
15:23 A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!
11:12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbour,
but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.
17:27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
17:28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
27:14 If a man loudly blesses his neighbour in the morning, it will be taken to be a curse!
THE DANGERS OF FOOLISH TALK
12:13 An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk,
but a righteous man escapes trouble.
12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
10:8 The wise in heart accept commands,
but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
10:10 He who winks maliciously causes grief,
and a chattering fool comes to ruin.
6:16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
16:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
16:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
16:19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
GOSSIP AND IDLE TALK
11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
17:9 He who covers over an offence promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.
20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid a man who talks too much.
26:20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without gossip a quarrel dies down.
14:23 All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.
9:7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.
9:8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
9:12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
20:3 It is to a man’s honour to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension,
and a gossip separates close friends.
17:14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
26:21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
16:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension,
but a patient man calms a quarrel.
LYING AND FALSE WITNESS
12:22 The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in men who are truthful.
14:5 A truthful witness does not deceive,
but a false witness pours out lies.
21:28 A false witness will perish,
and whoever listens to him will be destroyed for ever.
25:18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow
is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbour.
26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
SPEAKING IN HASTE
18:13 He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame.
12:23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.
12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
27:4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
29:22An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
21:9 and 25:24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
21:9 Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
19:13 A foolish son is his father’s ruin,
and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.
27:15 A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;
27:16 restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.
MORE BLESSINGS OF WISE SPEECH
12:14 From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
13:14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,
18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.