Wise Communication

February 6, 2022 Preacher: Luis A. Cardenas Series: Relationships

Topic: English Passage: Proverbs 10-31

Last week, we started a series on relationships, and what I tried to do was set a theological foundation for the way we understand relationships. We learned that God Himself is a relational being He created mankind as relational beings.

We are not just following rules or being guided by an impersonal force. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we were created to have a relationship with God. We were created to walk with Him, and we have an opportunity and an obligation to represent Him in our relationships with others.

Unfortunately, our sin breaks our relationship with God and with one another, but restoration and reconciliation is possible in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He died to cleanse us from our sin and to give us the power to fight against it. That’s the gist of what we covered last week.

As I’ve thought about it more, I think a good analogy for relationships is driving. Driving is a skill. Some people have a better knack for it; some people don’t. But regardless of our natural ability, we all had to learn it one way or another, and we all can improve.

Someone in my FLG had their tire blow out this week. Do you know what to do if your tire blows out? Do you know what to do if your front tire starts to slide? Or what if your back tire slides? Or what if you get into an accident with another driver? Do you know what you’re supposed to do?

Knowing how to fix those problems is important, but more important, in my mind, are the skills you need to possibly those problems altogether. If you take care of your care and if you’ve engrained good driving habits, you will greatly diminish the possibility of some kind of emergency.

The same is true with relationships. We should learn the skills of damage control—which include things like conflict resolution, confession and repentance, and asking for and granting forgiveness—but we also need to learn the general traits and skills of relating to others. The more we learn and apply those traits and skills, the less often—or the less severe—our relational emergencies will be.

In my opinion, the chief relational ability God has given us is communication. You form, and you develop, and you hurt relationships through communication. Jesus said that the chief command concerning relationships with others is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving others should be done in action and in words. That’s what it means to fear God.

So, part of our Christian growth is getting better at communicating. Communication makes all the difference in how healthy and God-honoring our marriages are, our families, our churches, and even our society. Communication matters.

Even before our kids start forming words, we are teaching them about communication. And then once they start talking for themselves, that education continues. From an intellectual or educational standpoint, they learn about grammar and spelling and conjugation.

As important as that is, more important is the spiritual component of their communication. There are right ways to communicate and there are wrong ways, right?

This is exactly what the wise father of Proverbs wanted his son to learn. Your words matter. You need to learn to fear God in the way you interact with others.

I’m not sure if any of you remember, but the very last sermon I gave here before we shifted our attention to COVID-19 was on March 8, 2020. On our website, it’s titled “The Power of the Tongue.” I was intending to do a series on what the Proverbs communicate about our speech, but that got cut short. The simple point of that message was that your words have the power to hurt and the power to help. For better or for worse, your tongue is a powerful thing.

Turn with me for a moment to James chapter 3. There is a very strong warning here about the power of the tongue. James chapter 3, verse 2—For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

James then compares the tongue to the bit in a horse’s mouth and the rudder on a ship. It’s such a small thing, but in controls something much larger. Then, he says the tongue is a fire. Look at verse 6—And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

The message is simple, but it’s not easy to apply: Your tongue can do a lot of damage. It can ruin your job. It can ruin your marriage. It can ruin your life. You need the power of God to watch over your tongue.

Today, after almost two years, we get to come back to this topic and back to the wisdom of Proverbs. We’ve already preached through the first 9 chapters of the book, which have a little more structure and order to them than the remainder of the book. Beginning in chapter 10, you have much smaller sections jumping into all kinds of topics. And I think that’s by design because as a parent, I shouldn’t tell my child something once and expect him to master it. I need to keep going back to the basic lessons of life.

The heart behind this instruction isn’t just so that my kids can be successful, it is so that my kids can learn to fear God. That’s the heart of Proverbs. It’s a guide on how to have a God-fearing life.

It’s always tricky to me when I’m preaching from a theme in Proverbs because if I organize passages according to their theme or message, then we’re jumping back and forth in our Bibles. And if I go through the Proverbs in their normal order, we end up jumping back and forth on topics.

My hope is that today wouldn’t just be a lesson about what the Bible says. My hope is that God would use our time today to sharpen us and equip to honor Him in how we communicate. So, I’ve chosen to go through the passages in their biblical order, so we’re not flipping back and forth. And as we do that, you can either mark some notes in your Bible or jot some notes on the side. And the question my Family Life Group is going to be discussing is: Which Proverbs stood out to you the most, either personally, or for your family? Which Proverbs stood out to you the most, and why?

If you wait until your group discussion, you might not remember what stood out to you. Satan might steal that away. But take notes somewhere, and then be ready to talk about it either over lunch today or with another group during the week.

I hope you’re ready, so let’s jump into the Proverbs and see the wisdom of God concerning how we should and shouldn’t be speaking to others. Like I said last week, this series will probably feel less like a formal sermon and more like a seminar or, in today’s case, like a Bible study.

I think a helpful summary of wise communication is this: Wise communication is saying the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, to the right person. The Proverbs we look at today, for the most part, are going to fall somewhere into that definition. Wise communication is saying the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, to the right person.

Let’s start this journey in Proverbs chapter 10. Proverbs chapter 10, verse 18. Proverbs 10:18

10:18—The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

The first half of the verse is talking about someone who is consumed with hatred but hides it. That’s not good. When our kids were younger, we used to say, “Use your words.” But here’s a person who’s living a lie. They’re concealing their hatred. Rather than address a conflict in a way that honors God, they allow hatred and bitterness to grow.

The second half of the verse is the other extreme. Some people hide from conflict; others attack. In this case, the attack is slander, which is a lie or a misrepresentation of the other person.

Let’s use a husband and wife as an example here, because from what I understand marriages have conflicts sometimes. Let’s say there’s an argument in the morning, and then, before you can come for a resolution, the couple is separated for their daily duties.

One of them might spend the day allowing hatred to fester. They get angrier and angrier. And then, when they see they’re spouse later that day, and they’re asked, “Are you okay?” Their response is, “Ya, I’m fine. Everything’s wonderful!” That’s concealed hatred. That’s not good. It’s not helpful, and it doesn’t honor God when we run from conflict.

The other possibility this Proverb gives us is the person who goes to work, and then spends the day talking about their spouse behind their back. “You will not believe what my spouse did to me today!” And what follows is some exaggerated account intended to misrepresent the other person. That’s someone trying to get more people to agree that the other person is the enemy. That’s slander. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t honor God.

If a man and his wife have a problem, assuming they’ve prayed and gone to the Lord first, who should they be talking to about the argument? They should talk to each other. That’s wise communication. You say the right thing in the right way at the right time to the right person. That’s self-control in speech.

When I was a kid, the saying I heard was, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Do you remember that? The very next verse touches on that. And for me, this is one that hits me personally.

Proverbs 10:19—When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

For some of you, this isn’t as much of a problem. Maybe you’re naturally quiet. But if you’re like me, you need to practice saying less. You need to zip the lip—to the glory of God. Control that tongue because it will come back to hurt you. There’s a lot of wisdom in staying quiet.

Verse 31 says—The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.

If you have something useful and helpful to say, something that promotes peace and righteousness, then say it. That honors God. But if you let your tongue run wild, it will hurt you.

Skip over to Proverbs 11, verse 12. Here’s another good passage. And again, if a passage seems particularly appropriate to you right now, make a note of it and share it with someone else.

Proverbs 11:12—Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.

If it’s not profitable, just stay quiet. Speaking of a transformed life, Ephesians 4:29 says we should only say things that are good for building up and give grace to the hearer. That doesn’t mean you’re always flattering people, but it means you’re seeking righteousness and holiness. Even if you have to correct someone, you do it in a way that’s useful and productive. It properly represents the heart of Christ.

Jump now to Proverbs 12:17. This is a very obvious one as we think about communication, but again, it’s the application that’s difficult. Proverbs 12:17—Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.

All of us are tempted to lie, or to adjust the truth if it will keep us from getting in trouble, right? We conveniently leave out the details that would incriminate us. You don’t have to teach children to do that. It’s part of the sinful nature. And it’s completely set against the God of all truth.

Proverbs 12:19 repeats the idea, emphasizing the reward of obedience—Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

A lie might make your life better in the moment, but in the long run, lies will ruin your life. This world says little lies aren’t that big of a deal, but for the glory of God, we need to break any habits of telling lies.

I remember talking to a man in church one time (this was during the week, I think), and one of his kids called him saying it was time to be picked up from some event. And this father says on the phone, “Oh okay. I’ll be right there. I’m on my way.” And then he hangs up the phone and goes on with the conversation for another 15-20 minutes.

I don’t know if that was a deliberate lie, but it was misleading, nonetheless. It was a lie. I imagine that he didn’t want his child to get upset, so instead of saying, “I’m in the middle of something, I’ll be there in about half an hour, he makes it sound like he’ll be there in 5 minutes.” Do you understand how that is a lie. It gives temporary peace, but then he’s got an angry child when he finally makes it there.

Telling the truth is part of what it means to say the right thing. You speak the truth. We’re not just responsible for the overarching messages like “I’ll go pick you up.” We are responsible for the details as well. If you don’t know something, say, “I don’t know.” But don’t make things up. Don’t give people the wrong impression. That’s lying.

Lok at verse 22. Proverbs 12:22—Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Which group do you want to be in? Do you want your life to be delightful to the Lord or disgusting?

Let’s look at verse 25 now. Proverb 12:25—Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Don’t you wish you were an expert at that? Wouldn’t you want the ability to take someone who is anxious or worried or sad, and turn them toward joy? That’s not easy. That’s a skill. If you can say the right thing at the right time, you can change someone’s life. That’s amazing.

Let’s go over to chapter 13. And again, we come to this idea of learning to stay quiet and learning to tell the truth. Look at Proverbs 13:3—Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Then verse 5 says this—The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.

Again, not complicated, but definitely not easy. Stay quiet. And when you speak, tell the truth.

Jump over to chapter 14 now. We see the same idea. This is a dad trying to sear this into his son’s mind. Proverbs 14:5—A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.

And then again in verse 25—A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful. Again, which group do you want to be a part of?

As we come to chapter 15 of Proverbs, we come to a couple Proverbs that focus on the manner in which we speak. Remember, we say the right thing in the right way.

Look at Proverbs 15:1—A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

I’m going to assume that every one of you has seen this is in action. You’ve seen it in your family and in your marriage and in your workplace. One person gets angry, and they lash out. And then the second person screams back. And that solves everything! Is that what happens? Of course not.

If you respond to anger with more anger, it’s like pouring gasoline on the fire. But, like this proverb says, if you’ve developed the skill to speak softly and gently, you can make a lot of progress. You might not fix things right away, but you’ve helped move things in the right direction. Again, this is so simple, but it’s so difficult.

When your coworker or someone in your family accuses you, you want to lash out in response. That doesn’t honor God. That only adds to the conflict. A harsh word stirs up anger. A soft answer turns away wrath.

We see the same message in verse 4—A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

This world tells you that the way you move up the corporate ladder, the way you make sure things get done is by asserting yourself boldly. You let people know that you are in charge. But the wisdom of God says we need to learn to be gentle. We need to learn to be soft.

We’re not dealing with externals only. We’re dealing with people’s hearts and souls. And when someone faces opposition and harshness, they close up. You don’t have access to their heart anymore.

Thinking about a gentle heart, me, all of us present and future husbands need to really let this sink in because Colossians 3 summarizes the responsibility of a man in 1 verse, verse 19.

Colossians 3:19 says: Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

This is what God wants for men in leadership: a soft answer and a gentle tongue. That’s what God wants for you, men, as a husband, and as a father, and as an elder. The authority we might have isn’t something to throw around. We’re not here to demand our way or sinfully pressure people into doing what we want. Our authority has been given so that we would lead others to know and serve Jesus Christ. And we do that when we lead with gentleness. We need to speak in the right way.

Look at Proverbs 15, verse 18—A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention

Now look at verse 23. We don’t get a specific command, but we do get a helpful principle that should motivate us to grow in our communication. Proverbs 15:23—To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!

Sometimes you’re saying the right thing in the right way, but it may not be the right time. Wisdom in communication means knowing what and how and when to say something. A lot of the timing is really going to depend on who you’re talking to. In a marriage, that means getting to know one another. You learn when’s a good time to bring something up and when it isn’t.

How do you learn that? Sometimes you learn by making mistakes. But you also learn by teaching one another. Don’t assume your husband or your wife can read your mind. Don’t assume they know when it’s a good time for you to talk about certain issues. Talk to one another. Help each other learn how to communicate better to one another.

Rather than get upset, laugh about it. God made you different. And those differences help you both grow into the likeness of Christ.

I remember a class in seminary where they had students and their wives talking with a professor and his wife, and she was describing his work schedule. He gets up very early in the morning and then he goes to bed very early as well. And the wife said, “I know that I can’t have any serious conversation with my husband after 7pm. I don’t ask any serious questions.” And then her husband added, “We know that I am not responsible for anything she tells me after 7 o’clock at night. I won’t remember it.”

Now, just for some context, this professor was in his 80s, I think, and woke up around 2 o’clock in the morning. Your probably don’t have that schedule, but my point is that you need to help one another learn how to communicate with one another.

If dinner didn’t taste so good, it’s probably not a good idea to talk about it at the dinner table. Let that stuff go until another time. If there’s something serious you need to talk about, then do it when the emotions aren’t high.

Ladies, if you’ve got some important discussion and you want your husband’s full attention, it’s probably not a good idea to bombard him with it the minute he walks in the door after a day of work. Don’t trap each other like that. Wait for a good time.

There may never be a perfect time, but there’s probably a better time, okay? Say things at the right time where it will have the best chance at making the best impact. That’s wise communication, and it takes some thought.

This brings us to Proverbs 15:28—The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Don’t just say the first thing that pops into your head. Think about it before you say anything. Ponder how to answer, and you will reap the fruit.

Let’s jump now to Proverbs 16 where we’ve got a few more Proverbs on how to communicate. Proverbs 16:21 says—The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

Remember, the goal isn’t to get your own way; it is to fear the Lord, to be effective for His purpose. Learn what it means to have sweetness of speech. That’s persuasive speech that isn’t coercive or aggressive.

Verse 23 adds—The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

And then verse 24—Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Again, learn to say the right thing in the right way.

Let’s go now to chapter 17. And now we’re looking at verses 27 and 28. This should sound familiar— Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

The father of Proverbs really wants his son to learn the value of staying quiet. We all need to learn that.

Now we come to chapter 18, and we get another reminder about the danger of slander or gossip. Proverbs 18:8—The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Proverbs 26:22 says the exact same thing. Our heavenly Father wants us to know that corrupting speech is tempting. It’s alluring. We need to be ready for that so we can fight against it.

Everybody likes to know what’s new, what’s the latest. We like finding things out before somebody else. And that’s why gossip is so tempting.

Why is a gossiping person called a whisperer in verse 8. They’re whispering because they know they’re not supposed to be saying it. It’s being said to the wrong group of people. Don’t do that.

We’ve also got verse 13, and this is a big one. Proverbs 18:13—If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

As a dad, I have to fight against this all the time. One kids comes running to me with a story, and based on what they’re telling me, someone else needs to be punished. But then I talk to the other kid, and it’s the other way around.

Every story has two sides. Wise communication means you listen and you wait. If someone comes to you talking about a conflict, love them. Listen to them. But recognize that their side of the story may be slanted. And it’s going to be incomplete. So don’t jump to conclusions. Hear it all out.

A good New Testament principle here is what someone mentioned in my FLG: Be quick to hear and slow to speak. Quick to hear and slow to speak.

Guys, maybe this addresses us more because we are tempted to try and solve an issue right away. “Say no more. I know what the problem is. I will fix it.” But maybe the person doesn’t want you to fix it. Maybe they just want you to connect with them and empathize with them. That might not make sense to you, but that’s how some people interact. They don’t want answers, they just want your friendship.

Remember, Job’s friends messed things up once they started talking. So let’s be slow to speak and eager to listening. In counseling, sometimes that called data gathering. Keep listening.

Along the lines of being slow to speak, let’s jump over to Proverbs 20, verse 25. Proverbs 20:25—It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows.

Sometimes good leadership means being able to make a quick decision, but other times wisdom means taking your time with a decision. Don’t just jump into things.

Proverbs 15:22 and Proverbs 24:6 aren’t specifically addressing communication, but they’re helpful along this idea. Proverbs 15:22 says—Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

And Proverbs 24:6—By wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

It's possible to make decisions too slowly, and it’s also possible to make decisions too quickly. Guard your mouth. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t make promises or agreements you’re going to regret.

Proverbs 21:23 says—Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Going back to the topic of gracious an persuasive speech, now we come to Proverbs 22:11—He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.

Honesty, integrity, and grace can bring a promotion. Your mouth can open doors for you in life. Learn to control it.

Like we’ve been saying, wise communication means saying the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, to the right person. Now we come to Proverbs 23 and you start to see the value of talking to the right person. If the person you’re talking to isn’t ready to listen, you can be wasting you words.

Proverbs 23:9—Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.

In other words, some people aren’t worth talking to about something. They just aren’t going to listen. It would be a waste of time. If that sounds cruel, just remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7—Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Think about whether or not the person you’re talking to is going to benefit from a discussion. Don’t make assumptions for them. But if they have continually demonstrated that they aren’t going to listen anymore, there’s a wisdom in putting your energy somewhere else.

We need to move along quickly here, but we’re almost done. Hang with me as we continue cherry-picking through the Proverbs.

Let’s look at chapter 24 now. Proverbs 24:26—Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips. Speak the truth. That’s an expression of love.

Proverbs 24:28—Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.

Now, Proverbs 25. Let’s look at verse 11 and then verse 15. These are related, and we’ve talked about this principle already.

Proverbs 25:11—A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Proverbs 25:15—With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone. 

Saying the right thing in the right way at the right time is priceless. It’s so valuable and powerful. Some people do that with humor. Some people do it with an emotional plea. There isn’t just one way to be a persuasive speaker, but you need to try and grow in that area and learn what that looks like in whatever relationship you’re applying this.

Now, as we come to Proverbs 26, we’ve got two proverbs that look like they contradict one another. Proverbs 26, verses 4 and 5. Here’s what they say—Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

So, are you supposed to answer a fool or not? What’s this saying? Here’s what I think this is saying. On the one hand, you do not want to stoop to the level of a fool. Don’t be like him. Don’t respond to foolishness with more foolishness. On the other hand, you don’t want to let a fool continue in his foolishness . So, don’t stoop to his level, and don’t let the foolishness continue. How do you do that? Well, that takes wisdom. You need to learn that.

Dr. William P. Smith, an author and counselor, applies this principle in a practical way for parents. He has a book titled Parenting with Words of Grace: Building Relationships with Your Child One Conversation at a Time, and he also recently released an article on Crossway.org called “Help! My Kids Keep Talking Back.”

In that article, Smith asks: Whether your kid is responding defensively, or attacking you, what should you do about it? First, Smith says, you need to see the bigger picture. Their sin isn’t ultimately against you; it’s against God. As a parent, you need to be more upset with the danger your child is in because of a foolish heart than with how their rejection makes you feel. That’s the right frame of mind, Smith says.

So, he continues, don’t be surprised by your kid’s sin. Recognize that God placed you in this situation for their benefit. And be ready to identify with them, be moved with pity, and work with them long term. Think about how God responded when Jonah talked back to Him. When you have that in mind, it keeps you from responding to foolishness with more foolishness.

Second, Smith says, you need to help your child see what they are really doing. That’s answering a fool in a way that’s profitable. You don’t have to answer right away. But, when the time is right, talk to them in a way that lets them see any hidden assumptions they were making and lets them see the long-term effects of an uncontrolled tongue or a rebellious heart. The goal is not to manipulate the kid, but to help them grow.

Like we’ve been reading, you can speak in gentleness if you talk about your own struggles and your own feeling.

That’s very practical, very sound advice, and it’s all an application of what we’ve see in Proverbs 26. There’s a right way and a wrong way to respond to foolishness. Work on learning the right way.

Well, we’ve got six more verses, and then we’ll be done. If you’ve been tracking with me so far, great job. We’re almost done. Again, make a note of one or two Proverbs that stand out to you, and then you can talk about it sometime this week.

Next is Proverbs 27:1-2—Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

That’s another reminder to be slow to speak. Don’t boast. Don’t brag. That doesn’t honor God. And nobody likes someone like that. If you’re good at something, people will notice. You don’t need to bring it up, people will see it.

Now jump down to Proverbs 27:6. Verse 6—Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

That can be applied as the one who gives correction or the one who receives it. Sometimes, it’s scary to talk to someone about something you see in their life. That’s not an easy conversation. But that’s what love looks like sometimes. We just need to learn to do it with gentleness and grace.

If you need a little more encouragement in this area, we’ve also got Proverbs 28:23. Proverbs 28:23—Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.

Again, sometimes your words might sting a little. We may need to correct someone. But the goal is always to edify. God may use our words to help someone grow.

As we come to the final three passages, let’s look at Proverbs 29:20. Proverbs 29:20—Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

We’ve covered this already, but it’s always good to be reminded. Be careful how you speak.

The final two proverbs we’re looking at come in chapter 31, and they are both positive, meaning they encourage us to speak in a specific way and for a specific purpose.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says—Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Sometimes you need to keep quiet, and sometimes you need to speak up. The heart of God is to speak up for those who can’t do it for themselves. Speak up for righteousness. Speak up for what’s right, even if nobody else will.

And lastly, we have Proverbs 31:26, which we find in the description of the excellent woman. Here’s what it says—She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Wouldn’t it be great if that’s what people said about you? You open your mouth with wisdom and kindness.

I know we’ve covered a lot today, and hopefully it didn’t just feel like a flood of information. I hope God encouraged you and challenged you.

Some of us need to learn to talk less. Some of us need to learn to talk more. Some of you us need to learn to be bold. Some of us need to learn to be gentle. Whatever the Spirit of God taught you and challenged you with today, remember that all of us are still learning. None of us is an expert in all of this.

Like James says, we all stumble in many ways, particularly in our speech. But God has given us His word so we can learn, and He has given us brothers and sisters in the faith to help us grow. We can all get better at saying the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, and to the right person.

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