In today’s text we see the power of words. They can be extremely harmful or extremely helpful. We see a stark contrast in this passage between someone who uses their words for good and someone who uses their words for evil.
First, we read about the words of the fool and the effects of those words throughout the chapter. The fool has “no interest in understanding” (V.2), does “wrong [that] leads to disgrace” (V.3), gets into “constant quarrels” (V.6), ruins himself (V.7), spreads rumors (V.8), is haughty (V.12), spouts off before listening to facts (V.13), is quick to speak (V.17), offends friends (V.19), brings death (V.21), and destroys others (V.24).
However, we see that “wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook” (V.4). Wise words are like “deep waters.”
How do the wise get that wisdom? The Lord grants wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5). I also think we receive wisdom from the Lord by being good listeners.
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (V.15, ESV).
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” (James 1:19, ESV)
We must be quick to hear and slow to speak. I find that I honestly do that pretty well when I am face to face with a person. However, I face a real temptation to be quick to speak when it comes to social media. I don’t think I’m alone in this temptation either. How easy it is to tweet our frustrations with someone or go on a Facebook rant about something! It’s easy because we don’t immediately see the consequences of our quickness to type and tweet.
So what can we do?
The Gospel transforms our hearts. As we grow in relationship with Jesus, he changes us to be more like him. As Jesus changes our hearts, we can actually trust that “out of the abundance of the heart [one’s] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45, ESV). You want to be quick to hear and slow to speak? Rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross. It frees us from thinking that we have to be the first ones to say something. God gives us wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent. The Holy Spirit convicts us of the times we use our words for evil. Jesus changes our hearts, so our mouths speak truth instead of evil.
Some questions to think about today:
• Do I need to apologize to anyone for words I have said to them?
• What does it look like to tweet or use Facebook for the glory of God?
• Am I using my words for good or evil?
By: Lucas Taylor — Worship Ministry Intern