Probing Proverbs 10:19-21 Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
Who, what, when, where, why and how - these are the guides that we need to employ as we use one of the world’s most powerful tools…the tongue! This Proverb gives some very clear insight on the pluses and minuses of words. It points out that a large number of words can lead to sin, that it might be better to just keep quiet. Words that are from the Lord are valuable, while what is inside a fool is not. Words can encourage or destroy. Many of the Proverbs resound the same sentiments in different ways. Why? Perhaps it is due to the thickness of our spiritual hearing, we don’t get it when we only hear it once, so God repeats these truths in order to spare us grief. Let’s also place some context to this Proverb so we can benefit the most from it.
We must always keep the “who’ in front of us! Everyone is different and receives things differently than we do. We cannot talk to someone as though we are the ones listening, we must make sure we understand “who” this person is. For example you can be very blunt with me, but not everyone can receive information that way.
Being that I am a talkative person, the first statement really hits me. What does it mean “Too much talk”? That’s where our guide helps! What is being said, when is it being said, where is it being said, why is it being said and how is it being presented. This guide has helped me as I mature to gauge my communication. I have found “what” to be easier than the rest…but learning the timing (when) is important. Even in a desire to help, timing is essential. Also the “where” changes how the receiver takes in what I am saying. The “why” exposes the intent of my heart, and the “how” confirms if I have taken the time to measure my words. One of the most important questions a talkative person needs to ask is “are there many words because I am talking to too many people”? This involves the “why” and brings to light the sincerity of our motive. Many times too many words cause sin because the words are spread among many individuals, which violates Scripture.
Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
What does it mean to be “sensible”? Synonyms of this word are: “aware”, “mindful” and “conscious”. When we are aware of the situation, mindful of what we are trying to do and conscious of why we are doing it, we will know when to “shut up!”
When we follow the guides we have and our words flow from connection with the Lord, the words we speak can be used to impact a life in a mighty way. I had a man tell me years after we had a conservation about a decision he was making about his marriage that the one statement I made in the middle of a two hour counselling encounter changed the direction of his life! Did I realize it at the time? No! I listened to what he said and each response I made, I made prayerfully, with only one agenda, what does God want me to help him see, so he can make his decision based on what God expects.
“the heart of a fool is worthless.”
Jesus spoke to this and explained why:
Matthew 15:17–19 “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
There is no value to the words of someone whose heart filled with the world’s point of view! That is a temporal and passing foundation.
Words that flow from Scripture and godly principles will encourage someone seeking truth.
However, not only is foolish counsel worthless, due to the fact that most people that think worldly have their own agenda, they ignore the guides and not only do they hurt the individual they are communicating with, but because they lack sense, they ignore the “who” and when they talk to someone it is as though they were talking to themselves, ignoring that every person is different. They do not think carefully about the “what” instead focusing on just getting the words out there. Timing (when) means nothing because they are speaking impulsively, circumstances (where) are not important because they have an agenda, the “why” is obvious…because they want to, and the “how” is whatever it takes to make them look right! Is it any wonder that in the end, not only do they damage others, but also they destroy themselves!
Action Point: Why not sit down and create a plan of principles that will help you control your communication. Use the guides and create a mindset for communication. For example – I will always do my best to make sure I know “who” I am talking to – this will guide your approach. I will make sure I know “what” I am saying. This will keep your from overreaction and from responding on hearsay. The “what” establishes the facts! – You finish the rest; the when, where, why and how.