A Gentle Tongue

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Proverbs 15-17

Proverbs stresses the proper use of the tongue. A God-controlled tongue gives a “soft answer” and therefore helps in peacemaking. Such a tongue “dispenses knowledge” and “is a tree of life.” Those who hear the speech of a good man benefit from it. His lips “spread knowledge” and are “a delight.” The rest of the Bible speaks similarly. We are taught to be careful how we use that powerful instrument, the tongue. It can do much good or much harm.

Proverbs also likes to make comparisons. A number of them start with the words, “Better is.” It is better to have a meal consisting of just a few vegetables and enjoy the meal because of the harmony around the table, than to have a big steak dinner with the people eating it angry with each other. What timeless advice! It is better to have very little in the way of material goods and have a deep reverence for God than to be wealthy and have a life full of trouble because of ignoring God’s commandments.

There is also the “but the Lord” formula. A person may think he is good, “but the Lord” looks at his motives. A person may make plans, “but the Lord” has the final say as to how they all turn out. What God thinks counts. He is in control, not us. Because He is in charge, it doesn’t pay to be “hot tempered,” “a sluggard” or “greedy.”

PRAYERFather, help us to guard our tongues and to follow the better way of life You have revealed to us. Amen.