Solomon stated: “ A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver” (Prov. 25:11). Your speech can deeply and sweetly enrich others. Yet, Solomon adds Proverbs 18:7: “A fools mouth is his destruction and his lips are a snare to his soul.” James even warns that “out of the mouth comes forth blessing and cursing,” adding, “these things ought not so to be” (James 3:10). The sobering fact is that all of us talk, and how easy it is to move from enriching to foolish speech; from blessing to bad, bewildering, backlashing talk!
Note this account from Lloyd Cory: “A college English professor wrote the words ‘Woman without her man is a savage’ on the board, directing students to punctuate it correctly. He found that the males looked at it one way and the females another:
The males: ‘Woman, without her man is a savage!’
The females: ‘Woman! Without her, man is a savage.’”*
Why did the males and females come up with two very differing thoughts from the exact same words? It was a very small matter of punctuation, which drastically altered the thought process. Hidden underneath that alteration was attitude and intent! Also, it shouts out the warning that it is not just what we say, but how we say it that affects others so deeply as to whether our words will bless or burden, enrich or enrage others! No wonder the Spirit stated through Paul: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col.4:6).
A great part of mischief and miseries that vex the world arise from the tongue and talk. Also, redemption of the world is Good News graciously expressed (Romans 1:16,17). Take heed what you say and how you say it!
* Lloyd Cory, Quotable Quotations, Victor Books, Wheaton Illinois, 1994, pp.315, 16