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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Bible Meditation: 
Proverbs 18: 1-17

A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul Proverbs 18:7

The WISDOM of VERBAL RESTRAINT delivers from the destruction of folly: A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Pro.18:7). The fool often wants to be heard rather than listen and learn from others: “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart” (v.2). In contrast, the wise person runs deep: “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook” (v.4). It’ll then take the Holy Spirit to help us balance between two contradicting instructions: “DO NOT ANSWER a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. ANSWER a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (Pro.26: 4-5).

The Wisdom of Verbal Restraint or Discipline is crucial in the following instances:

When a story has not been verified: He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (v.13). Every story sounds true until we hear the other side: The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (v.17). When what we’ve been told about someone has not been confirmed, it’s wise to exercise restraint and stay silent. We should do what we would want others to do for us – confirm the story from key witnesses or get the other side of the story from the person directly.

When there is no inspiration or release to speak: Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Pro.17:28a). The flesh likes to gossip; yet “in the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pro.10:19). When we’re not sure if we should share a thought, counsel, criticism, or question, it’s better to pause until we have a tugging or witness by the Holy Spirit to do otherwise.

When there is bad news: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psa.141:3). Bad news can start a whirlwind of emotions of anger, doubt, fear or hurt. Rather than stay silent, we’re tempted to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, which is usually negative and could be critical to the turn of events. We should pause until we’re ready to respond ONLY with faith-filled words. Until we become fluent in the language of Faith, we must learn the language of silence, especially in response to unpleasant news or events.

When we need to listen: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be SWIFT to HEAR…” (Jam.1:19a). God wants to hear from us, but also speak to us. Quite often, we’re full of our own talking, He can barely get a word across! We can receive amazing blessings from God when we’re quiet in our spirit.

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, by the WISDOM of VERBAL RESTRAINT, keep us from the ruin of folly, knowing when to pause and listen or to respond, in Jesus’ name.
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