Proverbs 29:20

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

The one who is hasty with his words is prideful, conceited, and possibly, contentious. Scripture tells us, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint . . .” (Proverbs 17:27). Parents comment too often to children that they should think before speaking as words have damaging consequences. My father had many sayings about the use of words. The one he said most often was, “Be sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear.”

The second part of the proverb is, “There is more hope for a fool.” Ouch! May our speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). May everything we say be good and helpful, so that our words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29). Recently I posted on my computer desktop, “Sarcasm is not a spiritual gift!” as a reminder to use words carefully—not to harm, but to build others up. How are your words today?

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