“The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:23 NIV)
Wise hearts have prudent mouths. Prudent means: Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; cautious not to act when the end is of doubtful utility, or probably impracticable. In other words, think before you speak. Think about the words that are coming out of your mouth.
I just finished leading a women’s Bible study. We looked at the prayers of Paul. In our last session, we talked about saying things in love. As Christ followers, we are to speak truth at all times. Speaking the truth isn’t easy. Of all things, I used the example of someone asking if they looked fat in their outfit. Arguably, one of the hardest questions to answer without offending the person. But you can answer the question in love to the best of your ability. Suggest another outfit they’ve worn which flattered their curves, or an accessory that enhances the outfit. My husband is a master at answering this particular question with love. I ask it often. He has a wise heart and speaks prudent words.
Wise hearts have prudent mouths.
God will hold us accountable for the words we speak:
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36 NIV)
We all speak empty words. I’ve spoken empty words. Jesus’ words in this verse help me think about my speech. I walk away when angry, or try too. By distancing myself from the person, I’m less likely to say something I will regret. Once I gain control of my emotions, I think objectively and revisit the conversation.
When in a difficult situation, I ask God for words as we’re talking. God amazes me with the words He gives me. But if I don’t ask Him for help, I get into trouble. I only know in part, God knows in whole.
Recently, a friend who’s daughter is graduating highschool asked me to do a video. The topic: what life advice would I give her as she prepares for college. I prayed for two days before God gave me this simple message: Call your mother.
Once the words leave our mouths, they don’t come back. When we put our words in writing, they are hard to dispute. The only way we are able to speak prudently is to give God control of our mouths. Often, the words God gives me are the scriptures I’ve memorized. The more scripture I memorize, the readier God gives me a response. And sometimes God doesn’t give me words, instead He wants me to say nothing at all. Let God direct your mouth, He’ll give you a prudent one.
Question of the Day:
Is your mouth prudent?