Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
It is said on average women speak 20,000 words a day and men only 7,000. Of course, some men (like myself) speak much more and some women speak less. Thus, if we were to just take a simple average we can safely say people in general speak around 10,000 words a day. For a 16-hour day that’s an average of 625 words an hour and 10 words a minute.
With that in mind now consider Solomon’s warning, “When words are many, sin is not absent.” Thus, with all the words we speak in a day, how much of what we say is wholesome and upright? Paul said 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.” Therefore, the disciple of Christ is expected to only speak what is good and hold one’s tongue when wholesome things cannot be said.
Remember the ole’ saying, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything?” Solomon is basically saying the same thing, “he who holds his tongue is wise.” James also said in James 1:19, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” And further in 1:26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” As a result, we are responsible to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and hold our tongue from speaking evil.
Sometimes people say dirty words and mean things and then retort, “I didn’t mean that… I don’t know where that came from.” However, Jesus taught in Luke 6:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Thus, when we do speak, whether is good or evil, it is always from our heart. So next time someone acts unruly and says, “I don’t know where that came from.” Say in love, “I know where it came from- your heart!”
Decide today to guard your words and only speak that which is wholesome and to the benefit of those who are listening. Everything else, keep between you and God- hold your tongue!
- Ask Jesus to convict you when you speak unwholesome words.
- Only use your words to benefit those who listen to you.
- Hold your tongue when you don’t have anything good to say.