Our words reveal our character, shape our lives, and leave behind our legacies. The power of the tongue is another common theme in Proverbs, and it is the main topic of today’s reading. The truth that “violence covers the mouth of the wicked” is found in both Proverbs 10:6b and 10:11b. The repeated lines serve as bookends to help us see that the verses in between are all dealing with the same subject – the deadly ability of our words to destroy ourselves and other people. When we constantly pour garbage out of our mouths, we slowly create reputations for ourselves as gossips, troublemakers, and liars (v. 7b, 8b, 9b, 10). We become and are then known as “prating fools” who are untrustworthy, deceptive, and mean. “Prating” in the second halves of verses 8 and 10 means talking a lot about bad or pointless stuff, or talking just to talk, and being a “fool” in these verses (and all of the Bible) is being someone who rejects God’s wisdom and lives in sin and rebellion against Him. We don’t want our evil and endless words to define us as enemies of God and His ways!
Instead, we want our words to be pure and kind and carefully chosen to accomplish good for God and others. We want to have godly reputations as humble, true servants of Christ, both now (v. 11b) and after we die (7b). We want to be and be known as wise people who receive and obey God’s Word (v. 8a). We want to live for Christ consistently in every part of our lives, which is what it means to live with “integrity” (to be “integrated” or whole and complete as followers of Jesus). In being real, through and through Christians (not yet perfect, but not hypocrites or false people), we will live in God’s peace and enjoy His favor (v. 6a) and protection (v. 9a). Those are the kind of people we want to be as Christians. So let’s get our hearts right with God today and this school year, let good speech continually come out of our mouths, and repent quickly when we sin with what we say. Then the name of Jesus will be honored by our words and character and NRCA will earn a good name as a lighthouse of hope in our community.
The Text (Proverbs 10:6-11)
6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall.
9 He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.
10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble, But a prating fool will fall.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
Questions to Think About
- How did your words define you last school year? How have your words defined you this summer?
- Do you “prate” or talk a lot about bad or pointless stuff? Explain.
- How can you be more intentional this school year about using your words to encourage and build up your classmates, teachers, family members, travel ball teammates, and other people whom God has placed in your life?