Proverbs 10:19 (NET), “When words abound, transgression is inevitable, but the one who restrains his words is wise.”
In a recent study, it was discovered that most people say around 16,000 words a day. Some on the low end say as little as 750 words, with others saying as much as 47,000 words in one day. Nonetheless, the average word count of 16,000 breaks down in a 16 hour day to 1,000 words an hour, 16 words a minute and about one word every four seconds.
With that in mind consider King Solomon’s warning, “When words abound, transgression is inevitable.” Be honest, on average how many of your words are sinful each day; 10% of the time, 1,600 words or just 1% of the time, 160 words? Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” The disciple of Christ is expected to only speak what is good and hold one’s tongue when wholesome things cannot be said. We shouldn’t let “any unwholesome talk” come out of our mouths.
Remember the ole’ saying, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it all?” Solomon taught the same idea in the book of Proverbs by saying, “Too much talk leads to sin, so be smart and keep your mouth shut!”
God teaches us this wisdom all throughout the Bible. James wrote, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19) and “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless,” (James 1:26). As a result, we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and hold our tongue from speaking evil.
Sometimes people say sinful words and then retort, “I didn’t mean that, I don’t know where those words came from.” However, Jesus taught in Luke 6:45 exactly where everyone’s words come from, He said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Whenever a person speaks, whether it’s good or evil, it is always from their heart. So the next time someone says ungodly words and makes the excuse, “I don’t know exactly where that came from.” Say in love, “I know where it came from, your heart!”
Guard your words and only speak that which is wholesome and to the benefit of those who are listening. Everything else, restrain your words so you don’t sin against God.
- Ask Jesus to convict you when you speak unwholesome words.
- Use your words to benefit those who listen to you.
- Hold your tongue when you don’t have anything good to say.