Scripture: Proverbs 12 (focus on 14-26)
Observation: The wise speak words that are truthful and encouraging, and therefore receive a reward from the Lord. In contrast, foolish people lie, make cutting remarks, and hurt others with their words.
Application: In middle school, my favorite movie was “Save the Last Dance.” In case you weren’t like me, sitting on the couch drinking Tang and eating Dunk-a-roos with your friends while watching “Save the Last Dance” in 2002, here’s a recap: a ballet dancer transforms into a hip-hop dancer after moving to a “less desirable” part of the city with her father, following her mother’s tragic death.
The movie had everything I loved in midde school – romance, dancing, just enough curse words to make it cool yet still PG-13 so I was allowed to watch it, and, most important of all, my friend’s approval. At one point in the movie, the ballet/budding hip-hop dancer turns to her friend Snookie (yes, Snookie) and says, “You talk a lot for someone who never says anything.”
Did people say mic drop in 2002? I don’t think so. But this is for sure a MIC DROP moment. Boom!
Have you ever been around someone who talks a lot for not really saying anything? Have you ever been the person who talks a lot without saying anything?
Our words matter. They bring peace, they start wars. They affirm, they destroy. They encourage, they hurt. They tell the story of the world, of our lives, one sentence at a time.
The writer of Proverbs spends most of Proverbs 12 telling us about the power of our words, and how to use them wisely.
“Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards. Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.” (v. 14-16)
Remember when a teacher told you to put on your “listening ears” in elementary school? Sometimes, I still need to be reminded to put on my listening ears. Whether we’re 8 or 18 or 48, listening is a skill that requires humility, an admission that we don’t know it all.
And in listening to others, in a willingness to hear other opinions rather than just insert our own, we find wisdom.
Wisdom is often found in words that aren’t our own.
So, this week, let’s ask questions – to others and to God. Let’s be open. Let’s strive for understanding. Let’s listen more than we speak.
Wisdom is found in words that aren’t our own.
Prayer: God, I pray for openness and a willingness to listen this week. Help me ask questions and seek to understand. I pray I’ll listen wisely and speak wisely. Amen.