PROVERBS 18:13-24 – 7/6/21
What an odd looking set of organs! we all have a set and they are more powerful than we know.
- Listen first.
The one who gives an answer before he listens—
this is foolishness and disgrace for him.
If you desire to grow in wisdom and understanding, you must start with listening. Listening is a complex skill and few have mastered the art. We shut people off in our mind, certain they have nothing to say worth hearing. Practice hearing people out, even when you think you know what they are going to say, otherwise you are engaging in foolishness and disgrace.
2. Collect wise information.
The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks it.
Do not listen just because it is a courtesy and you don’t want to be considered rude. Listen to acquire knowledge. The elevates you from a regular listener to ‘having the mind of the discerning.’ Be so with every human being the Lord brings your way today. Listen as a discerner. You will be amazed at what you will acquire. Train your ear to be a wisdom seeking missile and habitually expose yourself to those who prove themselves as wise.
3. Listen to all parties before you decide.
The first to state his case seems right
until another comes and cross-examines him.
Learn to cross-examine wisely. Don’t buy into everything you hear. Routinely listen to many sides of a situation. There is much to be appreciated in various opinions.
4. Sometimes words are ineffective in decision-making.
Casting the lot ends quarrels
and separates powerful opponents.
Sometimes an external, objective source is needed to make a final decision between adversaries. This can be a material process like casting lots, or an outside arbiter. Know the time to draw this party in when in seems that words are getting nowhere.
5. Count the cost of being right.
An offended brother is harder to reach
than a fortified city,
and quarrels are like the bars of a fortress.
You may win the argument but lose a brother or sister in the process. Learn the fine dance in human relations whereby you can put up with so much wrong in a certain area, for the sake of the relationship. We know of fractured relationships that may take a lifetime to heal and sometimes never to their original state. Commentator Kidner warns “of the strength of the invisible walls of estrangement, so easy to erect, so hard to demolish.”
6. Whatever you dish out to others, you also eat.
From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is satisfied;
he is filled with the product of his lips.
Verbal intercourse can be as satisfying as a meal. We can use words that build and satiate a person. Those words will go to bear fruit in the hearer’s life. Remember you are not only a speaker but also a hearer of your own words. Your words affect even you and continue to bear fruit. So ensure that you are eating good fruit from the product of your lips. Our words have consequences.
7. You wield more power than you know.
Life and death are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
You can feed others and yourself poisonous fruit from your mouth or you can speak words of life and build them up. That little organ in your mouth has incredible power.
Learn to wield it
wisely for good.
Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.
Every sea creature, reptile, bird, or animal is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.James 3:3-12