READ: Proverbs 10-11
THINK: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Whoever came up with that childish ditty didn't understand the fact that few things leave the kind of lingering wounds that words can. But words can also bring healing and encouragement. In all situations, we must be careful about what we say and how our words affect those around us. Careless and unrestrained speech can undermine any positive influence we might have. We should always strive to honor God in our conversations. One way to do this is to talk about God's goodness and to use our conversations to communicate the life-giving message of Jesus.
RESPOND: What lifestyles are contrasted at the beginning of chapter 10? (See 10:2-7 note.) Does the fact that the Lord provides for our physical needs (10:3) mean that we shouldn't experience times of need? Why or why not? (See 10:3 note.) What kind of person neglects hard or timely work, and how does this principle apply spiritually? (See 10:5 note.) What does it mean that "the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life"? (See 10:11 note.) What do you think it means that "hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs" (10:12)? In what way does responding well to discipline set a good example for others (10:17), and how does ignoring correction set a bad example? When is it wise to hold your tongue and keep quiet (10:19)? What does it mean that "the LORD abhors dishonest scales" (11:1), and what's the principle behind this proverb? (See 11:1 note.) How and why does pride bring disgrace and humility bring wisdom (11:2)? In what ways can a woman's lack of discretion affect her true beauty (11:22)? What does it mean that a person "gives freely, yet gains even more"? (See 11:24-25 note.) What does it mean that "he who wins souls is wise"? (See 11:30 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to guard your words and to give you wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.
ACT: Watch your words and conversations to be sure that what you say is appropriate. Aim to say things that will benefit and encourage others and honor Christ. Make every effort in your actions to be kind and generous.
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