“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Have you ever been around someone who didn’t talk much, but what they said was worth listening to when they talked? I have some friends who don’t have to say much because the few words they speak say more than a multitude of words could ever say. You must understand that it is not the amount of words that makes a person wise, but the words used is what determines the value of the words.
Words mean something. Many people speak frivolously and never think about what they are saying to their own detriment. When a person goes to court, a lawyer often tells their client only to answer the questions that are asked because the opposing attorney will take one word and turn the case on their client. In the verse above, God is telling you to be careful with what you say and use your words wisely because the words you say will either vindicate or indict your character. Let me give you a few thoughts about the words you use.
First, be sparing with the words you say. You must realize that the more you say, the more people can use against you. The hardest thing about words is that words are the vehicle by which we communicate with others; therefore, what we say will either hurt or help our relationship with others. The less you say, the more you can say if you use your words wisely. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean that you should say something. One thing that young people struggle with is their desire to prove their worth. The only way many youths feel that they can prove their worth is by talking. My friend, you will find that you can show your worth if you are sparing with your words.
Second, your spirit speaks louder than your words. Sometimes it is not what you say, but the spirit in which you say it that makes what you say bad. It is interesting that God talks about the value of having an excellent spirit with a person who spares their words. What you say may not always be wrong, but it is the spirit in which you said your words that makes the words wrong. One of the reasons you must be careful about using digital technology to settle differences is because people cannot read your spirit through technology. Always understand that the spirit in which you say something does matter, and the right words spoken in a bad spirit will always make the words spoken seem destructive. If you keep a right spirit with the words you speak, you won’t have to worry about your words being used against you.
Third, you don’t have to say something just because you have an opportunity to say something. Verse 28 says, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise…” There is a time when you must realize that if you say something that it will only hurt the tenor of the conversation. Many relationships are hurt because someone feels they have to answer the words of another, and the answer only fuels the fire of the heated conversation. Wise people know to hold their peace, because the more you say, the more you feed a contentious conversation.
Let me encourage you to be stingy with your words. If you will realize the power of words, you will realize the need to be careful with the words you use.