What we say and what we don’t say matters. We can be heartbroken by words. Every choice we make is a step towards life or death. Proverbs is full of advice about our words. They can bring blessing or destruction.
We should listen to the wisdom of others to discern what to say (11:14, 15:5). It’s human nature to think we know best. The world knows that listening to the wisdom of others leads to blessing but sometimes it’s hard to accept. Our first response is to try to justify ourselves. We should accept correction graciously. Even if we think it’s wrong there will be elements we can learn from.
We should listen to the wisdom of God. Knowing and trusting Jesus is the only sure foundation for a wise life. Even less do we like to be corrected by God. We need to stop defending ourselves and accept the correction from God that we have sinned. Jesus has done everything for us.
We have to use our words carefully to bless others (15:1, 25:15, 26:20). We can persuade people. Sometimes it’s hard to take criticism and not give it back. When we start grumbling we don’t deal with the problem. Our goal with everything we say or write is to point others to Jesus. We are to offer forgiveness because we have been forgiven much more. We are to be gracious because Jesus has shown grace to us. We are to repay evil with love. Jesus has served us far more than we could ever give.
Every situation is different (26:4-5). We should work out how to bring blessing in a situation. We’ll get things wrong, but if we’re patiently trying, God will help us and will enable us to point more people to Jesus. Our responsibility is to consider that.