Dan was a man of few words. His brother Phil said even less. I met them in my late twenties when I became pastor of the church where they were members. When in private conversation with them, Dan would talk while Phil just stood and listened—occasionally offering a comment. In meetings where disagreement ran rife, neither said a word until they had listened to everyone else’s take on the subject. They always worked for unity and actually believed it could be achieved—but with few rather than many words. Dan’s favorite saying was, “There’s always common ground if we look for it.” I appreciated the wisdom they offered in their few words.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and his tidbits of wisdom about speech will save one from arguments, promote unity, and enhance relationships. Ruling a large kingdom and having hundreds of wives and mistresses, he surely knew a little about when to talk and when to keep his mouth shut.
Wise lips avoid slander. Slandering others is foolish and never results in anything beneficial. All people have some good in them, and I’ll see it if I look deeply enough. Tearing them down with my words only makes me look bad to the person who is listening to my gossip. Wise lips articulate less rather than more words. The old saying, “less is more,” is true when it comes to speaking. When I talk excessively—and without thought, it is almost inevitable that something will be said that should have been left unsaid. Wise lips speak godly things. What’s on the inside will come out—often in my speech. Making sure my inside is clean before God ensures my speech will be also. And wise lips give advice that enhances other’s life journey. Life isn’t all about me, and I’m wiser when I encourage others rather than seeking praise and approval myself.
When you speak, ask, “Is what I’m about to say kind, necessary, and true?”
Prayer: Father, may the words of our mouths honor You and build others up.