I remember when I was a little girl, my mom used to call me the Mouth of the South. It wasn’t a play on words about my southern drawl and it certainly wasn’t a complement. I was just plain sassy and deserved that dreaded title.
But when I became a Christian everything about me changed – including my smart mouth. It’s not that I never battle a little sarcastic slicing and dicing when my world gets turned upside down, but my heart now longs to speak healing words instead of hurtful ones.
Notice how Proverbs 31:26 reads in the Amplified…
“She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom,
and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].”
What a power-packed verse! Her words didn’t just spew out her mouth like a broken fire hydrant. She didn’t wield her words like a weapon. She skillfully opened her mouth…as in exercising, exhibiting and requiring skill. Wow! We could park on that one for the rest of the post, couldn’t we!
Have we ever really considered the words that come out of our mouths are something we should learn – like a skill that we should hone? Obviously the Proverbs 31 woman considered the words she used as something SO important that she skillfully exercised wise choices about that which she allowed to flow from her lips. The result was godly wisdom, counsel and instruction.
The second part of that verse parallels two vastly different concepts. Law and kindness. The term “law” applies to a system of rules or codes of law. Kindness on the other hand is used interchangeably with mercy and is defined as goodness and faithfulness.
Only a woman of grace can dish out truth with kindness as its key ingredient!
You probably remember the old saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Well, the Proverbs 31 woman said what she meant and meant what she said…and it was truth laced with grace that flowed from her lips and spoke wisdom to each listening ear.
Since the mouth is the fountain from which the springs of our heart flows, we know that the Mrs. P31 was able to dispense words of wisdom and truth laced with grace because her heart was consistently filled with Living Water.
Today, as we examine the words we say under the microscope of Mrs. P31’s example, we have to ask ourselves some hard questions.
- Do you need some instruction on what should and should not be coming out of your mouth?
- What are some ways you can hone your verbal skills?
- Do you struggle with harsh, critical or mean words?
- Do you gossip, whine or complain?
- Would others describe your word choices as ‘godly wisdom’ and ‘truthful and kind’?
- How can you make sure your heart is right so your words will be right?
- What words do you need to eliminate out of your vocabulary if you’re going to be a woman who skillfully speaks godly wisdom?
- Do you find it difficult to speak law (truth) combined with kindness?
- What are some ways you can learn how to speak law and kindness at the same time?
The Proverbs 31 woman may not have had a big mouth, but she certainly left some big shoes to fill! May we be women who skillfully and intentionally speak godly words of wisdom – and may we be carefully craft our words so that we combine the law with kindness in such a way that we speak life into the lives of those who are listening.