When I don’t know where else to open to, it must be a good day to visit proverbs. I don’t spend enough time in the proverbs or psalms. A knucklehead like me can use a little extra wisdom. This section seems to have a lot to say about what we say, and how we relate to one another.
An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble. Sometimes, when we are doing wrong and living wrong, we try to hide it. So we start lying. We start with stupid little lies, like lying about what we had for lunch today. Then our lies get deeper and more involved. They become a part of our habits. That’s why I have guys I sponsor begin to work on correcting their lies. We are all liars to one degree or another. Getting our honesty straight is a big part of what steps one and two of recovery are all about. Because the righteous escapes trouble. It is not avoided altogether, upright people living well have problems just like the rest of us. They don’t have lying tongues making it worse.
From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him. We reap what we sow.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. This one hits home for me. I thought I was always right. Would argue loudly over stupid points. I was smarter than anybody else. I didn’t need your advice. I spent many years living as a fool, right in my own eyes, being my own God.
The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult. Does the whole world need to know every time your feelings get hurt? Do we have to return insult for insult? It says here it is prudent to ignore an insult. How many times do we allow ourselves to be drawn into our own personal pissing contests, only to later realize that was what our nemesis’ intention the entire time? Sometimes…just let it go. Where does having the last word in every disagreement get us anyway? Just in a cycle of anger and conflict, bitterness and resentment. Not good for our recoveries, not good for us.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Who is the one whose words are like sword thrusts?? One with the spirit of “the satan,” “the accuser.” We see this thought in the book of James as well. We can use our tongues and our words to build others up, or we can tear down.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. If we speak the truth, we are consistent. We are trustworthy. If we speak lies, we will be exposed for who and what we are. It’s just a matter of time. Also…what of our legacies? What will people remember about us when we leave this life? Are we someone who speaks the truth, and will be remembered as a positive influencer by those we came in contact with? Or are we someone who is dishonest, wears different masks for every situation, likely to be quickly forgotten for lack of any real impact in people’s lives?
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. Very simply, do we want to be happy in this life?? Then build up and don’t tear down. Be truthful about who you are. Think BEFORE we speak. Be open to good advice. Be willing to let the other guy have the last word.
Yes, it was a good day to visit Proverbs.
“An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble. From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult. Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.”
Proverbs 12:13-20 ESV