I write this blog post in between the grunts, screams, yawns and cries of my almost four-week-old baby. Those are the sounds I get from him as of now, even after fighting for a sweet smile in the highest voice that I can muster. I know more sounds are to come: coos, gargles, laughs, louder screams, da-das, and yes even the dreaded, “NO!”
Through the readings of these chapters in Proverbs this week, I can’t refuse that my attention time and time again goes to the words we speak and don’t speak. I can be wise in the words I choose to speak, but I can also be wise to not speak the words I choose. That mini-second between thinking something and saying something is a very important moment where life and death are chosen for me and my hearer. This is an area of self-control that is particularly difficult for me to get ahold of, especially with the people I love the most and thus talk to the most. My comfort with them has allowed my tongue to be far looser then it should be. I don’t seize that moment to choose discernment, the words just flow.
The world screams at me to speak in ways contrary to what is taught in the Proverbs: say what I think, vent my anger, stand up for what I believe in, and protect my self interest. When I follow this line of thinking, where does it get me? I am not in pleasant places full of love and peace. The people around me are crushed, and eventually I even hate the feeling it produces in me (that’s after the few seconds of satisfaction that I get from sinning). The more I give in and don’t fight the temptation, the easier it is to wrongly speak the next time. “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” (Proverbs 18:7)
If my words are a direct connection to my thoughts, which I believe they are, then I need to consider my thought life first. When I am speaking quickly without thinking, I am in a hurry to get somewhere without finding the wisest way to get there. “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” (Proverbs 19:2). When I slow down my speech enough to think and contemplate the wisdom that is taught throughout the Bible, I realize that so often what comes the quickest to my mind is sinful and foolish, not wise and honorable. “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” (Proverbs 15:28). I want my gracious words to increase so that I bring sweetness to other’s souls and health to their bodies (Proverbs 16:24). That direction requires that I slow down, stop moving so fast from thought to word, and consider wisdom. I know in the end I will speak a lot less and love a lot more. I am constantly making choices in my day, just like you are. I am finding that the most important thing I can do in a day is not found in a doing task like putting dinner on the table, or completing every subject in homeschooling, but rather it’s found in focusing my words on love and grace. Either I have shown my children and husband Christ, or not.
Jesus is the only person who knows our every thought and every word even before it is spoken. Jesus saught us in our deepest sin before we knew we were sinning and chose to adopt us for His own. Nothing can separate us from this overwhelming love. We are adopted with an unconditional love that spurs us on to love others the same.