The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not so – Proverbs 15:7
Some of the things I love about the holidays are those little boxes of assorted chocolates that you get at the store. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but there’s something fun about exploring the sheer variety of chocolate-and-other-sweet combinations inside each box. Each candy has its own unique flavor, with its own delightful finish.
The book of Proverbs is a little bit like a box of assorted chocolates. Each chapter is full of various little nuggets of truth pertaining to the whole of life. And just like a good chocolate, each proverb is not intended to be merely consumed, but savored. Tasted fully. Enjoyed. The deep, rich, profound truth of a proverb in God’s Word is worth every moment you take to meditate upon it.
At least half of the “nuggets” we find in Proverbs 15 are of primarily two flavors: proverbs about what and how we speak, and proverbs about our relationship to wisdom. And, probably not coincidentally, both of these themes relate strongly to issues that both single and married people face throughout their lives. Unfortunately, some of us only really start to learn them once we get married. If you can learn them as a single person, so much the better.
First, our words. Few things say more about who you really are than the words you speak to those you care most about. Having been both single and (now) married, I can assure you that both single and married people have an equal propensity for saying stupid and occasionally hurtful things; the only difference is that married people tend to be more consistently reminded of this fact. It matters how we speak to one another.
But what we say matters just as much as how we say it. “The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not so” (15:7). Your words matter. What you say can be vital, powerful, and profound, no matter who you are. There is nothing to replace the wealth of grace and insight from your lips that the Lord might use to bless those around you.
That is, if you press in to attain to it. See, here’s the other side of the coin: some of us have never had a hard time opening our mouths, but have a hard time saying anything worth hearing once we do. Our problem is that we have failed to do the hard, but rewarding, labor of getting wisdom at any cost. We exchange the incomparable truth of God’s Word for the trite platitudes of our culture. Indeed, our expectations regarding relationships, singlehood, and marriage are sometimes more heavily influenced by Hollywood than we realize, and we conflate these expectations with genuine Biblical wisdom at our own peril. We would do better to heed these words: “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things” (15:28).
We must speak; we cannot afford to be silent. But we also cannot afford to open our mouths in foolishness. Only a heart which treasures wisdom can hope to accomplish both. The good news is that it’s worth the effort.
Join the conversation! What’s your response to the above or what struck you from Proverbs 15?
I am a postdoctoral scholar studying theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where I live with my wife Allyson and nine-month-old daughter Georgia Clementine. I am a regular blogger for various Christian ministries and blogs, including GotQuestions.org,blogos.org, and CompellingTruth.org. I also have a (rarely updated) personal blog which can be viewed atcaelienarrant.blogspot.com. I love learning about theology, philosophy, science, and apologetics, and then sharing what I learn with others.