Proverbs has a lot to say about words and how beneficial and how damaging they can be. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about words and illustrates the positive and negative side of words. The old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” could not be farther from the truth. In Proverbs 15:23-28 we see two verses which are focused on the mouth, verses 23 and 28:
A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! 24 The way of life winds upward for the wise, That he may turn away from hell below. 25 The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow. 26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, But the words of the pure are pleasant. 27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live. 28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
Verse 23 speaks to the benefit that words can bring. Another one of those sayings that really isn’t helpful is this: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. But that’s not very helpful is it? A word spoken in due season is truly a good thing and words can bring joy. We should be intentional about using words to bring joy and benefit to others.
Then in verse 28 we are told that the heart of the righteous “studies” how to answer. Did you know that there is a part of the brain that you use to control how you respond to stimuli that you hear or feel? A key to successful life is training your brain to wait a little while before responding. That is the case with words. If we are quick to speak we can find ourselves in trouble. Perhaps that’s why James tells us to be “slow to speak” in the word of God. If we study how to answer we will be much less likely to get ourselves in trouble or to hurt others with what we say.
The power of words is well known. If we use our “mouth” well, we will be greatly blessed and we will be a blessing to others.