A Wise or Foolish Woman: The Tongue & Ears

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 2: The Tongue & EarsThe Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 2

The Tongue & Ears

 

woman of God

As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.

 

wise woman

Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1  which says:

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

 

wisdom

Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!

Today we’ll begin looking at some of the specific things God has to say about wisdom, beginning with “the tongue” and the ears, how well we listen. 


The Tongue & Ears

 

If there is an area where we have a huge opportunity to be foolish instead of wise, it’s with the tongue and with our willingness or unwillingness to listen well when others talk to us.

James had a lot to say about the tongue. In James 3 he said:

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

Deadly poison!

No one can tame it, except God Himself, as we put ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit!

 

How will we use our tongues?

 

How will we use our tongues? Will we load them with deadly poison? Will we speak wise words or foolish words? And what about our willingness to listen? Will we listen to wise words or stubbornly refuse?

 

wisdom teachable

Wise women are teachable

 

Proverbs 10.8 says,

The wise are glad to be instructed,
but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.

“The wise are glad to be instructed.” They’re teachable. Are you? When it’s your husband making a suggestion, are you “glad to be instructed”? When it’s your parents? Or your boss?

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise (Prov. 12.15).

A wise woman takes correction well (Prov. 17.10, 9.8, 1.5; Jas. 1.19). But “a babbling fool” is not interested in what anyone else has to say, she’s got to get in her 2-cents worth. She’s always right in her own eyes. She doesn’t care about learning. She’s too busy talking (Prov. 10.14, 12.15).

Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool (Prov. 17.10).

Does it take 100 blows before God can get your attention or do you listen to a rebuke when it comes? Learning to take criticism in a wise way is a valuable thing!

Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you (Prov. 9.8).

We get so upset when our children don’t respond to correction, but how do we respond? What are they learning from us?

A wise man will hear and increase learning (Prov. 1.5).


wisdom listen

Wise women are good listeners

 

James said we should be, “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (Jas. 1.19).

Are we quick to listen? Or are we just waiting until our turn to talk? Are we too busy formulating what we’re going to say next or … are we really listening?

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise (Prov. 10.19).

And …

Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive (Prov. 17.28).

I don’t know who said it first, but, “Sometimes it’s better to say nothing and let someone think you’re ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!


wisdom fools vent

A fool vents her feelings

 

A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back (Prov. 29.11).

It’s foolish to go around giving people a piece of our minds! Even when we do need to confront someone, it needs to be done biblically. That means we are to first examine our own hearts (Matt. 7.1-5). Then we’re to go gently and tentatively with a desire to restore the other person (Gal. 6.1-2).


wisdom words

A Wise Woman Gives Thought to her Words

 

Proverbs 12.16-18 says:

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

If there’s any area where we need to give thought to what is honorable, it’s in the area of our words!

Whoever utters slander is a fool (Prov. 10.18).

A fool speaks badly of others. Fools gossip and criticize. Yet the wise woman in Proverbs 31, “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Prov. 31.26).

And Ephesians 4.29, 31-32 says:

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

And Proverbs 12.18 says:

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.


wisdom communication

Communication & Good Relationships

 

Communication is essential to good relationships. We’ll never have the intimacy we desire in our marriages and other relationships without sharing our hearts. That includes our fears and struggles, as well as, our dreams and goals. That only happens in an environment of grace, where people learn to listen well and speak wisely and lovingly.

Let’s ask God to help us see where we are wise and where we are foolish with our tongues and in our listening.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139.23-24

The way everlasting is the wise way!

Read the next post in this series, “Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 3: Money & Stuff.”

Blessings,
Donna

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8 thoughts on “A Wise or Foolish Woman: The Tongue & Ears

  1. It seems the older I get, the easier it is to hold my tongue. Some of it is the Holy Spirit – some of it is the feistiness mellowing – and maybe some wisdom, too. Thank you for the wise words and encouragement.

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