Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
This verse hit hard during my personal devotions this week. As a pastor, my whole life is wrapped up in words. Turns out that’s not the safe vocation every mom wants for their little boy.
Words, being one of the most powerful goods in the world, are necessarily one of the most dangerous tools we can access. Although they come across pretty common and easygoing, they’re often much sharper than we think. In my workshop I have several chisels that look an awful lot like screwdrivers. More than once I’ve had to remind my kids and even myself that they’re sharper than they look. Such are words.
We shouldn’t be afraid of them, just wise about them. After all, the “lips of the righteous feed many.” (Pro. 10:21) Wisdom and knowledge, according to the verse above, work together to restrain words. Wisdom doesn’t keep us silent, but makes sure our words head in the right direction to do some good. Again, chisels are great tools but sharp. Their sharpness is part of their power. Rather than being so afraid of their sharpness, the craftsman simply has to use much more restraint when working with chisels in order to use them for their best.
So this isn’t a post to get you to stop posting on facebook or join a “silent order” of monks. Rather, it’s just a friendly reminder that those things coming out of your mouth and out of your fingers are sharper than you think. Use with care and restraint, praying for God to bless many through your words.