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Do Your Words Stab or Heal?
Proverbs 12:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts: The Hebrew expression here that is rendered there is (יֵשׁ yesh) denotes the existence of someone, and in this case, one whose words are rash, which refers to words that are spoken too quickly without careful consideration of the possible consequences; impetuously. Such words can seem like (כְּמַדְקְרוֹת חָרֶב chereb madqarah) sword thrusts, which are quick jabs that are piercing motions, stabbing made with a sword, which cause serious wounds and injuries. While the language is figurative, the pain caused by rash words are very real.
but the tongue of the wise brings healing: Once more, as was true in verses 11, 13, 18, 20, 21, and in 31 in chapter 10, we have a part of the body (tongue, mouth, lips) being used figuratively with reference to the speech or words of good people. While the rash words of the thoughtless one can cause serious mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical pain, the well-chosen, well-thought-out words of the wise or wise words can heal or restore the damage caused by the thoughtless one. Healing is the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical pain that is restored to health or a sound state.
The thoughtless fool with his rash or reckless words hurts others, but the wise person or the person using wise words, which are carefully chosen, well thought out can heal the person who is suffering from such thoughtless ones and their rash words. Even though we may see the one using rash words as thoughtless or a fool, it might not necessarily be intentional, for it is more of one who speaks too quickly without careful consideration of the other person and the possible consequences. While there may be no malice on the thoughtless one, the damage to the other is like a sword thrust, causing much emotional damage.
The wise person or a person with wise words may undo some of the damage afterward with his well-chosen words to bring healing to the wounds. With his wise words, this person can do more than heal the damage done but can prepare the other with the wisdom of rational thinking. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In other words, nothing anyone says can cause us emotional damage, it is what we think about what they say that causes the damage. If we can rationally perceive the truth, dismissing the irrational words, there is no emotional; damage being done.