Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 17:15-28 (ESV)
15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord. 16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense? 17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. 18 One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor. 19 Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction. 20 A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity. 21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. 22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice. 24 The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. 25 A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him. 26 To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness. 27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
In these verses are three that focus on using words. They are 20, 27, and 28. Verse 28 is very similar to a popular, and more humorous maxim, that is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain that goes like this: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. This modern version and the others above show that using words wisely, or at least wisely restraining your tongue, can help us stay out of trouble. Do you need wisdom in speaking wisely at work? Or with your family? Or maybe you need more self-control so that you do not “fall into trouble” with your “perverse tongue.” We need the cleansing of the Holy Spirit to wash our “corrupt hearts” (v20) so that we might instead have “cheerful hearts” (v22) that produces words that heal and bring life.