Proverbs 6:1-19: Bad Words
A childhood taunt says, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." The sentiment may be brave, but we know from painful memory that words can be exceedingly painful. Solomon's proverbs speak straightforwardly of the harm that words can work—harm when they are spoken to us, by us or about us. And for all their power to work evil, bad words can be surprisingly (and disconcertingly) pleasant to hear or to speak! The world is awash with bad words. The wise man or woman knows how to recognize them, not only so they can purge bad words from their own speech, but also to escape the menace of bad words from others.
Warming Up to God
How have your words betrayed you this week—through malicious talk, gossip, sarcasm, rudeness or in other ways? Ask God to make you open to discovering how he wants you to talk.
Discovering the Word
- What words and phrases are used to describe the effects of bad words (vv. 2, 12, 14-15, 17-19)?
- Evil communication can occur without a word being spoken (vv. 12-14).
- Why do you think a mischief-maker communicates in that way?
- Why is receiving that kind of communication dangerous to you?
- How are bad words a part of the seven things that are "detestable" to the Lord?
Applying the Word
- Like smog, bad words are difficult to escape when they're "in the air." What can you do to reduce your exposure to such words in the coming weeks?
- How can you resist adding to the pollution?
Bad words stir up dissention. Pray that your words will build unity.