I leaned forward, eager to add my two cents to the conversation.
“Oh, I know, right? It’s been so much better since she left. Not to be mean or anything, but she just didn’t belong here.”
I wasn’t really gossiping, was I? I said “not to be mean,” so that made it ok. Right?
Or… what about this one?
“It’s just so hard. I’m not trying to complain or anything. I’m just saying.”
And this one:
“He doesn’t have a clue, does he? Bless his heart.”
Each of these scenarios depicts women trying to justify their complaints or criticisms. These are common, common occurrences, even in Christian circles. Women are really good at softening their speech with little phrases like “I’m just kidding.” That takes the sting away, at least in our own minds.
Yeah, I’m not usually kidding.
I’m not “just saying.” I’m complaining.
And I really am trying to be mean.
What about you?
Women of Many Words
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
The Bible has a lot to say about our words, usually in connection with wisdom or foolishness. It even goes so far as to say that death and life are in the power of the tongue. That’s a strong statement.
I will be the first one to admit that I often let my mouth run freely. In my head I might even be thinking, “Why am I talking? Just be quiet.” But the words keep coming out. Complaining, sarcastic, hurtful, not helpful in the least. Luke 6 tells us that our mouths speak what is in our hearts. Many times, my words reflect a heart that’s jealous, bitter, and resentful.
Our words are a big deal. Let’s look at what the Bible teacher us about women who speak foolishly:
- The mouths of fools spout folly (Proverbs 15:1)
- The one who opens wide her mouth comes to ruin (Proverbs 13:3)
- A fool’s lips bring strife (Proverbs 18:6)
- A godless person destroys his neighbor with his mouth (Proverbs 11:9)
- Their tongues are as poisonous as vipers (Psalm 140:3)
These are sobering thoughts. When I read them it makes me realize how seriously God views our speech. And these are just a few verses among many. The Bible is full of warnings regarding the careless use of words.
How freely do you fling words around and what do they say about your heart?
A Wise Woman of Words
In contrast, a wise woman…
- Restrains her lips and is considered wise (Proverbs 10:19).
- Guards her mouth and preserves her life (Proverbs 13:3)
- Is delivered by her mouth (Proverbs 12:6)
- Has a mouth that is choice silver and a fountain of righteousness (Proverbs 10:11, 20)
- Knows when to stay silent (Proverbs 11:12)
That one sounds a lot better. But it’s also a lot harder to carry out. One of the major reasons our words flow so freely is because it’s easy to talk. So many of us blurt out anything and everything that comes into our heads. Some women even pride themselves in it. “I speak my mind, and if you don’t like what I have to say, well that’s too bad.” “I say it like it is.”
While they may sound good on the surface, statements like those are really the opposite of godly speech. Again, women who say these things are simply excusing the unkind or abundant flow of words coming out of their mouths.
Even better, you might try staying silent. The Bible says that a wise woman uses words that are kind, compassionate, and even beautiful. But she also knows when to keep her thoughts to herself.
He who restrains his lips is wise, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27
Last week I wrote about women who feel pushed into dating. What’s the major reason for this? People talk. People use their words to make single women feel, quite frankly, like losers. They probably don’t intend to do it, but their free-flowing words typically communicate that thought- You’re nothing without a man.
Most of the time being single doesn’t bother me until someone says something about it. Suddenly I start to question my life, my purpose, and even my femininity. A lot of the single women I talk with say the same thing. We don’t necessarily feel bad about our single lives until other people make us feel bad.
Our words are so important. Do yours bring life or death to others?
I’m trying to memorize verses about my speech and I’m working on being more careful with what I say. It’s not easy, but with God’s help, I pray that I will become a woman of wise words.
This week I’m thankful for the blessing of godly women who use their words to build others up. They are truly sent from God. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!