The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
I remember the first night I volunteered for that youth ministry. I was brought on as a leader, but those kids did not know me from Adam. They were children who were being raised practically by themselves with scarce supervision and few boundaries. As a leader, I expected them to obey and respect me right out the gate. Of course, that is not at all how it went down. As I continued to volunteer there, I continued to assert my authority and try to establish control over the things and people entrusted to me in that authority. What I came to realize was that my approach was simply unwise. My foolishness kept me from seeing that my words were just fueling the fire. Without wisdom, I would not have the words necessary to finally break through and reach those kids.
We all speak out of turn or put our feet in our mouths from time to time. That is only natural. The difference between this normal blundering and the fool committed to senseless speech is frequency. The fool has developed a habit and pattern of speaking without thinking or speaking regardless of consequence or outcome. The wise person uses words which are measured to achieve a positive goal of some kind. The wise person also knows that different situations and different people will require different approaches. Words have power, and fools will wield that power incorrectly out of ignorance or bad intentions. The mouth speaks forth from the heart, and the fool’s words mirror their source.
To bridle the tongue is one of the most challenging things we can hope to accomplish. It takes perseverance, prayer, humility, patience, thoughtfulness, wisdom and so much more. The foolish person will not even try to put in the time and effort required. The wise person understands that only God can facilitate this change, and it will be a long road. Gaining control over the tongue is really about having a desire to speak only words which bring a positive outcome. The root is our love for others, and the source is the love we receive from God. Father, give us the desire to seek increased wisdom that we would have measured and loving words whenever we speak, bearing good fruit for your kingdom.