Proverbs 10 (ESV)
The Proverbs of Solomon
1A wise son makes a glad father but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
2 Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4 A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.[a]
7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
10 Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
and a babbling fool will come to ruin.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.
13 On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
14 The wise lay up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
15 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
16 The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin.
17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
22 The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.[b]
23 Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,
but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
but the righteous is established forever.
26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.
27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
28 The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless,
but destruction to evildoers.
30 The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
This past weekend, on 3 separate occasions I was in public and watched and listened as parents either spoke cruel words to their children or obscene words repeatedly in front of their children.
It sickened me.
And it also hit me in the gut.
In each of these situations I wanted to take the children home with me to escape the verbal shame or disgust their parents were laying on them, or to protect their precious ears and eyes from what they had to witness. But I knew I couldn’t. And though I prayed and prayed for God to open a window for me to speak truth and encouragement into these children’s or parent’s lives, He didn’t. And perhaps I could’ve been bold and interjected myself into the tense situations. But as I prayed, words season with grace and mercy just didn’t come.
I was paralyzed with uncertainty of what to do about these situations. How to help these children who were being belittled. But words or actions didn’t come. I prayed.
But as I watched these parents (both mothers) who lashed out with their unkind words and frustrated attitudes, I realized that I have been that mom before. I have said unkind things out of frustration to my boys in the grocery store. I have been impatient while waiting at the doctors office and said unkind things. I have heaped shame on my boys as I am irritated by their behavior. In public. Um….just this weekend.
So when I read this verse, I was immediately convicted.
It doesn’t matter that my words, tone and attitude weren’t as bad as that mom.
It doesn’t matter that I didn’t yell in public at my kids like that mom.
It doesn’t matter that I didn’t say those obscene words in front of my boys like that dad.
It matters what I say.
Though I have grown so much in this area of struggle, Proverbs 10:19 reminds me that I still have much work to do through the Holy Spirit in restraining my lips. But I am thankful for how far He has brought me, and that I am open to hear the prodding of Him on my heart. May I never lose sight of my sins, my weak spots, my need to depend on God’s grace, mercy and wisdom. And may I always pay attention to His voice. Because His words are prudent, regardless of mine.