you old wag

April 7, 2015

sugar coating


If there is any failure universal among mankind, it is the misuse of the tongue. Little wonder that one of the most frequently discussed subjects in the Book of Proverbs is the use of the tongue. If our problem with the tongue is a common one, it is also an especially crucial one. For one thing, the tongue is capable of achieving either great good or great evil. Furthermore, the words we speak cannot be taken back once spoken. It is impossible to undo damage done by the tongue.



The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out (17:14).

A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle (18:19).



Finally, James suggests in his epistle that the key to the control of our entire body is to be found in the control of the mouth:

For we all stumble in many ways. If any one does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well (James 3:2-3).


Our approach in this study will be to view words as we do money, something we may either invest wisely to the benefit of others and ourselves, or squander foolishly to the detriment of all. We will begin by considering the power of words, for good or evil. Then we will seek to learn from the Book of Proverbs when words are foolishly wasted and when they are wisely invested. Finally, we will study the way to use words well.



The Potential of
Words for Good or Evil

Unlike money, words are easily come by. None of us is ever faced with a shortage of words. As a result, we may be inclined to underestimate the impact which words may have on ourselves and others. Proverbs reminds us of the potential of words for both good and evil.


Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit (18:21).

There is an old saying which we used to repeat as children. It goes something like this: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, But words can never hurt me.”

In my estimation there is very little truth in that saying. The fact is that the wounds caused by sticks and stones heal, but the wounds caused by cruel or thoughtless words may run deep and last a lifetime. On the other hand, words which are wisely spoken can be a source of life, comfort, and healing.


The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence (10:11).

With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered (11:9).


By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down (11:11).


There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing (12:18).

Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad (12:25).


The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death (13:14).


A truthful witness saves lives, But he who speaks lies is treacherous (14:25).


A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit (15:4).


A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word! (15:23)


Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (16:24).


A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are as a scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends (16:27-28).


These Proverbs remind us of the power of the spoken word to do good or evil to others. Other Proverbs teach us that the words we speak have a great effect on the speaker as well as the hearer. Words wisely spoken bring blessing to the speaker while words that are foolishly spoken bring difficulty and disaster.


An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will escape from trouble. A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him (12:13-14).

Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment (12:19).


From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good, But the desire of the treacherous is violence. The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin (13:2-3).


In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back, But the lips of the wise will preserve them (14:3).


He who has a crooked mind finds no good, And he who is perverted in his language falls into evil (17:20).


A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul (18:7).


With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips (18:20).


We reap what we have sown with our lips. When our words are spoken wisely, others benefit as well as ourselves. When we use words foolishly or maliciously, both others and ourselves are hurt.

Pray for Joe as he continues his job hunt.

Pray for so many of our church family that have adult children that need Jesus in their lives

Pray for Rebecca and her commitment to be chaste, which is quite the opposite of what her life has been.

Pray for Larry who wants to not lose his wife, because he was stupid.

Pray for Kim and her ongoing battle with cancer.

Pray for Virginia M. and her battle with chronic pain.

Pray for those that have to make tough choices.

God bless from

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