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Words: Entrapment or Benefit

February 25th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 13-14 (NLT)

13 The wicked are trapped by their own words,
      but the godly escape such trouble.

 14 Wise words bring many benefits,
      and hard work brings rewards.



Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

If life is a book, then words are the audio version.  Words put parameters around our existence, defining the boundaries of our personalities and serving as the most convincing evidence to prove who we are . . . whether incriminating or exonerating.  And trust me, the jury’s still out.  The world is watching and listening and it is by our words that many of them will make their decisions about the credibility of Christianity.  No pressure.

Sound unfair?  It’s possible.  I’m not sure that fairness is the x-factor for this truth, though.  Simply put, Jesus said it would be this way . . . He gave a point blank directive to His followers to tell the world who He is and what He has done to offer them endless love.  Even Jesus Himself was a great orator, soothing the ills of the masses with His words of compassion and confounding His enemies with His masterful words of wisdom.  Today, the words of Jesus are still the keys to unlocking the mysteries of His grace and the plan by which that grace was to be executed . . . oddly enough, through His own personal execution.  Words are crucial.

It is no surprise then that this book of wisdom would spend so much time dwelling on all things verbal.  We begin with a very real description of the negative possibilities of words spoken from the wrong heart.  “The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble.”  I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been “trapped” before by something stupid I’ve said.  To teachers.  To friends.  To my parents.  To a policeman.  To my wife.  Words have a permanence about them . . . a record that is hard to erase.  

The wisdom here isn’t that the godly always say the right words, but more so that they “escape” the trouble.  To me, this means that those who follow God simply learn when to keep quiet.  I know, I know.  Easier said than done, but always remember that in addition to those flowery, impressive fruits of the Spirit like love, joy, and peace is a less-celebrated-yet-equally-as-juicy fruit called self-control.  Self-control doesn’t just apply to actions; it definitely begins with our thoughts and words.  Very few actions will be taken that aren’t brought into being by thoughts and usually words.  

Avoid the trouble: seek self-control concerning the words you speak.  It’s a fruit that will yield some pretty tasty juice.

“Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards.”  This verse completes the circle with the positive alternative to the negative entrapment of words.  There are benefits to the right words spoken at the right time.  Much like the negative words, positive words leave lasting memories.  Can I help you with that?  Don’t cry, it’ll be okay.  You’re going to make it because I’m going to walk through it with you.  Trust me, words like these stick with people for a lifetime.

Benefit or entrapment . . . the choice is ours.  Choose wisely.





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