WATCHING OUR WORDS

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
Proverbs 10:19

In our desire to live holy lives, we must maintain vigilance on several fronts. We have to keep our attitudes right, as well as our actions. Our thought lives must also be kept under control. Our verse deals with yet another important and very challenging area to be disciplined, and that is our words. As growing believers, we are commanded to restrict our conversations. Perhaps, we sin as much with our words as in any other area of our lives.

In the New Testament, James tells us that if a man can control his words, he can tame any part of his body. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2) Taming the tongue requires great grace as well as discipline and determination. We all know the pain of having said something we later wished we could retrieve. We also know the devastating power of words that leave permanent scars. Idle or malicious words spoken about someone can shape others’ opinions about them forever.

By contrast, we know the healing and comforting effect that the right words spoken at the right time can bring. Lives have been greatly helped by the assurance that is given by words of confidence. How wonderful it would be if we could keep from sinning with our lips, or only say the kind of things that are positive and constructive.

Our text gives us practical counsel that can help us curb the occurrences of sinning with our words. The Word of God advises us to monitor and regulate our words. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” When words are used without discretion, sin will definitely be the result. If we are serious about this matter, we cannot afford to freely say everything that crosses our minds or verbalize our opinions about every subject. There are many ways we can sin with our words. We can say things that are harsh, cruel, critical, condemning, negative, hopeless, demeaning, deceitful, suggestive, or dishonest. It is true; the more we say, the more likely we will sin with our words. So the Bible warns us to limit our words. Refraining our lips is one of the wisest things we can do. We must be careful that our words are both truthful and beneficial.