Say the Right Thing

Key Verse: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
—Proverbs 15:1

Lesson Scriptures: Proverbs 15:1-4, 7, 8;
Background Scripture:
Proverbs 15; 17

SAYING THE RIGHT THING in the right way is no easy task for us as fallen human beings. The Apostle James informs us that of all the parts of the body, the tongue is the most difficult to bring under control. He says, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2) Yet, as difficult as it is to bring our words under control, our lesson clearly indicates that it is necessary to do so if we are to be a successful follower of the Lord. Not only must we control our tongues, but we must also use them in a positive and uplifting manner.

The Key Verse points out how words should, and should not, proceed out of our mouths. We should all desire to give an answer to others according to the precepts of Truth. However, there are different ways we can do this. We can speak the Truth harshly, berating others for their lack of understanding or appreciation of it, answering them railing for railing, strife for strife, angry word for angry word. This method of speech is totally out of harmony with the character of God and his Son, Christ Jesus. Even if we are correct in our statements, we are so incorrect in our methods and spirit that God will look upon the entire matter with displeasure. By contrast, we can speak the Truth softly, although with firmness and resolve, and perhaps turn away the opposition of those who might speak evil against us. Even if wrath remains in the hearts of those who hear us, we have the assurance that God is pleased with such a response on our part.

Our lesson points out some of the character qualities, both good and bad, that are revealed through the things we say. Proverbs 15:2-4 states, “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” Here the tongue that is spoken of as wise and wholesome dispenses knowledge and life-giving sustenance to its hearers. The mouths of fools and those who speak perverse things, however, only bring folly and damage the spirit of those who hear such words. Notice that verse three reminds us that God is ever watchful of the things that we say, seeing what is good and what is evil.

Further in our lesson, Proverbs 17:4-10 gives us numerous lessons pertaining to the tongue. These verses tell us that it is wrong to speak evil of the poor or to express gladness over the troubles of others. (vs. 5) It is also wrong to even give ear to those who speak evil. (vs. 4) Verse nine states that it is much more pleasing to God that we forgive and forget when offended by others, rather than dwelling upon the matter or repeatedly bringing it up in conversation. To do so, the verse states, would be to risk the loss of the friendship of those who, most likely unknowingly and unintentionally, caused the offense.

Let us ever be mindful of our words, and the heart motives from which they emanate. As Jesus told us, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”—Matt. 12:34

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |