Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Proverbs 15:1-17 (NRSV)
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
A fool despises a parent’s instruction,
but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.
In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the minds of fools.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
but he loves the one who pursues righteousness.
There is severe discipline for one who forsakes the way,
but one who hates a rebuke will die.
Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD,
how much more human hearts!
Scoffers do not like to be rebuked;
they will not go to the wise.
A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.
The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
All the days of the poor are hard,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
than great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
As a child, after attending service at my grandparents’ church, I perused the book kiosk in the narthex. I selected a pocket-sized paperback entitled Beauty Care for the Tongue. Even at a young age I recognized the power of words upon others. But when my mother offered a few dollars for the book, the pastor threw his head back and chortled, “beauty care for the tongue.” My mother, knowing I understood the purpose of the book, quietly slid the money into the offering box and the book into my hand. Its pages described how our tongues are a source of beauty as they convey the fruits of the spirit to others.
Over the years, in raising my own children and ministering to other people’s children, I have felt a great responsibility for the words I say and how they are spoken. I pray that my words have offered life and hope and that they haven’t ever broken another’s spirit, as the latter part of the verse warns. Our words deeply impact others. May they be a tree of life.
Loving God, today, we open ourselves to the gifts of your Spirit. In conveying love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control, may our tongues offer life and health to others. Forgive our sharp tongues and inspire us to bring healing where we have harmed others. Amen.
Go with God.