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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Bible Meditation: 
Proverbs 17: 20-28

He who has knowledge SPARES HIS WORDS, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit” Proverbs 17:27

The Word of God extols the WISDOM of VERBAL RESTRAINT: He who has knowledge SPARES HIS WORDS, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit” (Pro.17: 27). There is great value in the Virtue of Verbal Discipline: "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who RESTRAINS HIS LIPS is WISE” (Pro.10:19). We need to sustain a Wise Balance between Silence and Speaking: “A time to KEEP SILENCE, and a time to SPEAK” (Ecc.3:7). Although Believers in Christ are called to influence others through both words and deeds, such words must be used wisely, to build up and not to destroy. We must know when to speak or be silent – and how!

Speaking can be profitable when pertinent, but unfitting when untimely. On the other hand, silence can be golden or it can be unhelpful.

When Speaking is Apt and Profitable: “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a WORD SPOKEN in DUE SEASON, how good it is!” (Pro.15:23); “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a WORD APTLY SPOKEN” (Pro.25:11). There is a Know-How to Seasoned Speaking: “That I may make it manifest, as I ought to SPEAK. Walk in WISDOM toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your SPEECH always be with GRACE, SEASONED with salt, that you may KNOW HOW you ought to answer each one” (Col.4:5-6).

When Speaking is Unfitting:The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor” (Pro.11:9a). The wrong use of the tongue: is “like the piercings of a sword” (Pro.12:18); breaks a person’s spirit (Pro.15:4); is “like a sharp razor, working deceitfully” (Psa.52:2); and is like a devouring fire (Jam.3:5). Psalm 141:3 wisely instructs, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

When Silence is Golden: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, SLOW to SPEAK, slow to wrath” (Jam.1:19). Silence is best in moments of anger. Naturally, when we’re not opening our mouth, we’re more inclined to open our ears – towards God or others. In quietness, we tend toward self-reflection and listening to the Holy Spirit. Silence can help to avoid sin (Pro.10:19). The silent is reckoned to be wise: “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (v.28).

When Silence is Unhelpful: “Do not be afraid, but SPEAK, and DO NOT KEEP SILENT” (Acts 18:9). This was the Lord instructing Paul in the night vision. Cowardice, fear, and timidity can tempt us to keep silent when we should speak wisely and boldly against oppression, defend and seek justice for the vulnerable: The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice” (Psa.37:30; 82:3; Isa.1:17). We do more harm than good when we take a cowardly, quiet backseat to injustice.

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, train us in the WISDOM of VERBAL RESTRAINT, to know when speaking is apt or unfitting and silence is golden or unhelpful, in Jesus’ name.
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