19. When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
20. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
21. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
This is just a small sampling of the many times the Lord speaks to us about our tongues. He clearly is trying to get a message across to us. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can cause wounds that never fully heal.
I’ve never been shy with my opinions and I’m seldom short on words. I guess that’s why I have become somewhat successful as a blogger and why I’m drawn to leading Bible studies. So these passages are a good reminder to be careful of how and what I say.
Verse 19 is a reflection of our sinful nature. The more we talk, the more likely we are to say something sinful. So wisdom comes from holding back. It doesn’t hurt to listen more than you talk either.
With that said, verses 20 and 21 indicate that the words of the righteous are precious gifts to cherish. To me, this is an encouragement to pursue righteousness. That way my words are edifying and nourishing instead of just noise.
I also see a warning against filling your ears with the words of fools and “the wicked.” I’m a big fan of secular music, TV, and movies. I’ve never felt the need to insulate myself from “The World.” With that said, there are just some forms of entertainment that are of no use to me morally. Hollywood puts cutting edge, “push the boundaries of decency” type stuff on a pedestal. So more and more I find myself uninterested in filling my head with those words and images.
After all, what we fill our heart with flows out of the tongue. Which brings us back to the original point.
Lord, give me a righteous heart and an edifying tongue.