Centuries after Proverbs 18 was written, James also noted the power of the words that come from our mouth. Some things just don’t change. Today our words and actions still demonstrate what is going on inside. They show our heart.
How often do we say things that are better left unsaid? Verse 6 reads: “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.” While this reminds me of lessons from childhood, it applies throughout life, as we walk through the same lessons over and over again.
Yet far from rebuking others from saying unwise things, have we ever found ourselves somehow delighting in words of gossip? Solomon refers to them as “choice morsels.” The NLT says they “sink deep into one’s heart.” What are we filling our hearts with? Solomon notes in verse 20: “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” Jesus reaffirmed this truth in noting that it’s not what goes into a man but what is said that makes him unclean.
So many of us try to restrict our intake of calories from time to time. As I considered today’s reading I thought about how much more care I take sometimes with what I put in my real stomach than how I fill my metaphorical one. Maybe I need a different kind of diet?
Of course, we’ve all heard that in the long run diets really don’t work anyway. What we really need is a lifestyle change. Maybe that’s the message today too. We need lives and mouths that glorify God, encourage others, and do no harm. This should not be something we try to do now and then, but it should be part of our being.
What are you feeding on and what do you give others?