|Proverbs 18 |
1 By a man willfully separating himself [from God], he seeks his own desires, rebelling against wise judgment.
2 A fool has no delight in understanding, only that his heart may reveal its opinions.
3 With wickedness comes contempt, and without integrity shame will [eventually] result.
4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
5 It is not good to respect the wicked person, or to deprive the righteous of justice.
6 A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth invites destruction.
7 A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a slanderer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of his body.
9 He who is slothful in his work is brother to him who is a great destroyer.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous flee into it and are safe.
11 The rich man's wealth is like his fortressed city, and like a high wall, in his own conceit.
12 Before being broken, the heart of man is haughty; and before honor is humility.
13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is as folly and shame to him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but who can bear up one with a wounded spirit?
15 The heart of the prudent gets knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.
17 He who is first to state his cause seems right, until he is questioned by the other party.
18 Casting the lot causes contentions to cease, and parts between the mighty.
19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
20 A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat its fruit.1 [Those who love to talk will never see salvation; the fruit of a tongue that roams is death.]
22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the LORD.
23 The poor makes humble requests, but the rich answers harshly.
24 A man who has many friends will betray friendship, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.2
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1 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat its fruit. Those who love to talk will never see salvation; the fruit of a tongue that roams is death.
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can boast of great things. Consider how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. It is set among our members, defiling the whole body, and setting on fire the course of our life; and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man can tame the tongue, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. [Only the grace of God can tame a man's tongue.] James 3:5-8.
If any man among you seems to be religious but cannot control his tongue, he deceives his own heart [thinking to be religious], and this man's religion is of no value. James 1:26.
Even a fool, when he doesn't speak, is considered wise; and he who shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. Pro 17:28
A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it in until afterwards. Pro 29:11
In the multitude of words there is no lack of sin; but he that refrains his lips is wise. Pro 10:19
But let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no,' 'no;' for whatever is more than these comes from the evil one. Mat 5:37
(Until cleansed and purified, the Spirit of Satan is in every man's heart generating the words that men speak.)
But I say to you, For every idle word that men speak, they will give an account of the same in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Mat 12:36-37
For we all err in many things; and if any man does not err in his words, he is a perfect man, James 3:.
So if you are going to be condemned for speaking idle words, and if you cannot control your words until you are perfect,
then perfection is obviously required to be justified and obtain salvation.
Before you are perfect, you are speaking from your carnal mind, which is enmity with God; so we all should practice speaking as little as possible. To help us minimize our words, the following messages are from the Word of the Lord within: (the words in parentheses are not the Lord's and have been added for further understanding.)
This will be hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. Don't start the unintended conversation with, Hi, how are you, just wave hello. Use email instead of initiating phone call conversations. There will be times when it is absolutely necessary for you to initiate an oral communication; make them as few as possible. When asked a question, answer yes or no if possible; and if not possible, stay conscious of what you are saying as you speak as few words as possible. Watch yourself in reaction to others speaking, and you will realize you are paying little attention to what they are saying and instead thinking what you want to next say; unfortunately that is what most conversations are — listening to oneself talk.
In your occupation it is often necessary to orally communicate; some of you even have jobs where you are in phone support. My advice is practice making your answers short, and avoid trying to establish rapport with war stories and asking pointless questions such as "how are you today," or "how's the weather out there," or "how about that xxx football team," "who's your favorite yyy?", etc. Net: stick to business.
The early Quakers practiced speaking as few words as possible as William Penn describes below from his Introduction to George Fox's Journal:
"They recommended silence by their example, having very few words upon all occasions. They were at a word in dealing; and their customers' many words could not tempt them from it; having more regard to truth than custom, to example than gain. They sought solitude; but when in company, they would neither use nor willingly hear unnecessary or unlawful discussions. Thus they preserved their minds pure and undisturbed from unprofitable thoughts and diversions. ... Their practices opportunely and profitably halted conversation; by making their company uneasy to their relatives and acquaintances, it gave them the opportunity of more retirement and solitude, where they met with better company, even the Lord God their redeemer. They grew strong in His love, power, and wisdom, and were better qualified for His service; and their success abundantly showed it; blessed be the name of the Lord."
2 There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. That friend is Christ the Light and Word, who is in every man's heart, and who is all our life gently pleading with us to do the right thing, who pangs our conscience when we fail; who is eager to teach us, eager to help us see the right way to life, eager to give us wisdom and understanding; and eager to share his divine nature with us, providing we listen to him and obey him.
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