Written by Kris Baker
Many times we go through life wishing we were given warning signs or flashing lights to help prevent conflict, strife, and stress, or even the everyday messes of life. After we face trouble or difficulty we often find ourselves saying, “I wish I would have known . . .” What we fail to realize is that the Lord graciously poured out his wisdom and even provided red caution flags through His Word. Proverbs 13 offers several warnings geared towards our protection in an effort to direct his people away from evil wickedness and towards His wisdom.
While Proverbs 13 consists of multiple warning signs, these few hit home with me . . .
Verse 3: “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” As kids we are taught if you don't have something nice to say, don't day anything at all and we are also told to think before we speak. Self-control begins with what we say. James 3:5-6 states “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.” Here the damage the tongue can do is compared to that of a raging fire. The words we use can be used for good or, used to damage and destroy. This warning to watch what we say is echoed again in the Bible in James 1:19 - “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring the righteous life that God desires.” His wisdom is clear, think about, consider and filter what you say.
Verse 1 states “A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke” and verse 18 reads “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.” Let’s admit it, most of just want to be right, do things our own way, and hate to hear criticism, even when it is intended for good. As children, when we were disciplined by our parents we would hear, “it’s for your own good.” Now that I am a parent myself, I can honestly say that most instruction and correction is geared towards keeping us from harm and pointing us in the right direction. Our heavenly father loves us even more than our parents! So much so that he sent his son to die in our place and so much so that he puts people in our lives to teach us and guide us towards righteous paths (even when the correction or instruction we need to hear may sting).
Verse 20: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” As children we are taught by our parents to avoid hanging out with “the wrong crowd.” When faced with trouble and hardship we often turn to our friends for guidance and advice. Scripture encourages Christians to surround themselves with Godly and wise people who speak truth, even if it hurts, offer wisdom from experience and share biblical insight to point us in the right direction.
There are often times in my life where immediately after a situation I feel that pit in my stomach knowing I spoke without thinking or before I took the time to filter my thoughts through His word. Those situations are often followed by guilt or regret. I also struggle with wanting to do things right the first time therefore not wanting to hear correction. I want to do things my way and feel the need for control. Both of those situations lead directly to the same sick feeling in my stomach and are often followed by remorse and sorrow. I have also faced the regret of listening to my friends as opposed seeking out Godly wisdom. If only I would heed the wise words from Proverbs.