In urging us to use our tongues wisely, the poet Edward Richards wrote this: “A wise old owl sat on an oak; the more he saw the less he spoke; the less he spoke the more he heard; why are we not like the wise old bird?” Another insightful writer said a foolish person usually “has double trouble—a closed mind and an open mouth.” And we’ve all heard this one: God gave us two ears and one mouth so we would listen twice as much as we speak. Proverbs 18 has several statements that encourage us to use our tongues wisely. In 18:4, we read, “Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.” In other words, when we take time to listen and learn we store valuable wisdom inside our hearts that can enhance our character; then when we speak, our words are a source of wisdom that refreshes others. Another proverb says that people who have no interest in speaking wisdom only want to air their own opinions. Such people often discover that their words hurt more than they help. Verse 13 tells us that “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” Our tongues may be the most powerful tool we possess. That’s why wise people carefully guard their words and use them to build up people rather than to tear them down.
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