“She opens her mouth with
wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the
ways of her household…” Proverbs 31: 26,
This verse is translated
differently in a few versions of the Bible, but this will be because within the
original Hebrew language, the depth and breadth of this verse teaches far more
than one word.
When I first studied verse 26 what
stood out was the power of our tongue, and the enormous responsibility we have
with our words, the mindfulness needed to assess what we are going to say
before we open our mouths. It’s a choice we must all make when choosing our
words, our tone and our motivation – for as the Bible teaches us, “out of the
abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. Luke 6:45
Humbling and examining ourselves by what we say and how we say it, whether verbally or in print, within this social media world-gone-mad era, has become rare. A desire to be heard above all the crowd, to have our personal beliefs shouted to the world, the need to be right (all the time) means we see ego, pride, and a real love of self on display all around us – and while we may be pointing the finger at others who behave in such a way, do we lift our eyes to the mirror of Christ and recognise similar behaviour in ourselves?
The character of the woman described
in verse 26 is a benchmark we women need to aim for, because to speak with
Wisdom – “chokmah” – in
mind, word or act. To have good sense, to teach wisdom to others.
…is to be mindful about every word
that comes from our mouth, for as we are warned in Jesus’ teaching about what (and
how) we speak, if our heart is not right with God and moulded by relationship with
Jesus, the words we speak may be soiled and harmful to the recipient. When we
open our mouth, it should always be God-honouring and many times that will
require us to be humble, or even silent if we have issues with anger,
unforgiveness, pride, envy or any attitude the Word warns against.
Continuing on, the verse tells us
that the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…
Kindness – “checed” – this word
speaks of following God’s example in His kindness towards us. We should be
merciful as He is merciful. We must be honest and kind with others, and teach
our children and the younger women to do the same. The word “teaching” used in this verse is actually
“towrah” (Torah). Some Bible translations correctly use the word law instead of
teaching because the Torah is the law of God. ‘…and on her tongue is the law of
kindness’. This tells us that she lives by God’s commandments, and teaches them
to others. I am reminded how the Ten Commandments used to be displayed inside
every courthouse, every school, and many other government buildings when I was
growing up. They were a constant reminder of right and wrong for everyone.
Sadly, they are disappearing today and it is rare to see them on display anywhere.
So, like this woman, even though
she is written of as an ideal wife for a man to look for and not a real person,
let us glean from the many godly character traits she is described as having,
for every one of them is good, every one of them will grow us individually
closer and closer to the character of Jesus. And isn’t that what God wants
For a deeper study on the power of the tongue and our words, read –
1 Peter 3:10, Colossians 4:6, Ephesians
4:29, Proverbs 15:1,2,4, Proverbs 15:28, Matthew 15:11, Proverbs 21:23, Psalm
34:13, Proverbs 18:20-21, Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 12:18-19, Proverbs 18:6-8, James