Let’s consider the virtuous woman in Proverbs, specifically focusing on one part of her life. (And I will say this isn’t limited to the female readers here. Dads also need to understand these principles and live them out.)
Proverbs 31:26 reads, “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
This is the goal of our speech, to bring forth wisdom and to speak kindly. So let us examine some basic thoughts about our speech within the family.
You may have heard the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
This isn’t true; Proverbs 18:21 reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” and Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
These two passages identify that our words matter. What we say can bring death or life. Our words can cut like a sword or bring healing. What kind of speech do you want in your home?
Proverbs 15:4 is the type of speech I’d prefer; “A soothing tongue is a tree of life…” The tree of life is where we want to dwell. Here is our challenge.
James 3:8-10 says, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”
Our mouth spews forth blessing and cursing, but James tells us it shouldn’t be this way. We need to recognize that our words must bring life, not death and destruction.
How can we tame our tongue to better control our speech? It begins as a heart issue. Matthew 12:34-35 says, “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.”
Your speech has a direct correlation with what fills your heart. Have you taken inventory of the language that is coming forth from your mouth? Is it giving the listener life, hope, and encouragement? If not, what is filling your heart?
With the Holy Spirit and the word of God overflowing in your heart, your speech will be life giving. Spend time reading and meditating on God’s word allowing this to fill your heart. Spend time communing with Jesus in prayer and allow His thoughts to fill your heart also. This combination will have life-giving speech flowing from your lips.
Self-control is another issue. James 1:19-20 tells us, “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
Self-control begins with listening, first and foremost, not firing back in anger because of what we’ve heard. That doesn’t manifest God’s plan for our family.
Proverbs 21:23 is self-control in action: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”
I have played basketball. My coach wanted me to guard my man to keep him from scoring. We were coached to put out our full effort in order to keep the other team from scoring. If I did my part, we had a better chance of winning.
No other player could guard my man. They each had their own assignment.
To keep your soul from trouble begins with guarding your mouth; no one can do this for you. Psalm 39:1 reads, “I said, ‘I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle…'”
The Psalmist also sees the importance of personal choice in guarding our ways and words. He saw the potential of sinning with his tongue and used an analogy of a muzzle to guard his mouth. This is the self-control required at times to not speak.
Make the teaching of kindness your focus for the next season.
Let’s see how God might use this commitment. Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
I’ve not known anyone who was won to Jesus because he felt God was beating him up. We are drawn with kindness.
Your family will be more open to the things of God when words of kindness fill the home.
Then will we see this promise from Titus fulfilled: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-6).
Kindness leads us to repentance and God’s kindness showed us a Savior. May the teaching of kindness abide in your homes and bring healing and revival to your family.