Proverbs 12:13

Proverbs 12:13 "The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble."
Proverbs 12:13 Lancaster Christian Church
The tongue is a problem for everyone because as James puts it, it is an unruly evil that no man can tame (James 3:8).  Unfortunately for this reason, both the wicked and the just get into trouble because of their tongue.  At times throughout our lives, we all say things that get us into trouble.  For some of us, it's more often than others.  For some of us, it's more likely than others.  But it is important to note that sometimes the trouble that our mouths get us into is not always the result of evil words.  For example, a husband can get himself into trouble simply by being honest with his wife after being asked how she looks in a particular dress.  A woman can get herself into trouble by lovingly but repeatedly telling her son that he needs to make changes in his life.  A juror can get himself into trouble simply by telling someone about the trial he is assigned to.  A Christian can get himself into trouble by innocently telling a coworker about Christ.

Words easily cause us trouble.  Good words said to the wrong person can cause us trouble. True words said at the wrong time can cause us trouble.  Accurate words said in the wrong tone can cause us trouble.  We live in a world where trouble is easy to find and the tongue seems to have a knack at finding it.  Eliphaz didn't get much right in the book of Job but he was right when he said, "man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7).  The more we talk, the more trouble we tend to find.  I know this by experience as this is the occupational hazard for the minister - the more we preach, counsel, visit and converse, the more likely we are to cause trouble.  Solomon, who identified himself as "The Preacher" in Ecclesiastes 1:1 certainly experienced this fun fact and at some point wrote, "in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19).

The emphasis of this proverb is primarily on the moral nature of the words we speak; meaning there is a great difference between just words and unjust words.  As already noted, just words can get a person into trouble just as unjust words can.  A person can lose a friend for telling that friend the truth but he can also lose that same friend by lying to or about that friend.  The difference between the two scenarios is that lies are a lot harder to escape than truth.  Wicked words hold us hostage.  Evil words ensnare us.  Unjust words enslave us.  It's very hard for people to forget lies.  It's very rare for people to forget slander.  It's very difficult for people to forget manipulating gossip.

This proverb teaches us that when a person crosses a moral line with their tongue (a.k.a. verbal transgression), they become captive to their immoral words.  In such a wicked case, there is no explanation that frees them from their words.  There is no explanation that releases them from those harmful statements.  They will spend the rest of their life trying to get out of that snare; trying to clean up their reputation; trying to get out of the trouble they caused.  Lies hold us hostage.  Slander holds us hostage.  This is why a wife keeps bringing up what her husband said decades ago.  This is why a woman won't forgive a former friend for what she said years ago.  It's just hard for people to get out of the trouble wicked words cause.  When we lie, we're held captive by that lie and we find ourselves telling more lies in an attempt to get out of that first lie.  Untrue words hold us hostage.

On the holy contrary, the just who find themselves in some relational or legal trouble for speaking truthfully can actually come out of it.  True words can be explained, even if they were said at the wrong time.  Just words can be defended, even though they were said in the wrong tone.  Honest words can be accepted, even though they were hard to hear.  Marriages of both the wicked and the just have trouble because of words but the just can work through their trouble because at the end of the day, nothing wrong was said - maybe just poor timing, poor execution or a lack of grace.  Friendships of both the just and the wicked have trouble as a result of words but the just can work through that trouble because truth is never wrong - although sometimes it is simply mishandled.

In our world, problems await anyone who opens their mouth.  The difference between the wicked and the just is that the problems caused by wicked words are irreparable and unforgettable while the problems caused by just words are repairable and forgettable.  It definitely matters WHEN, WHY and HOW we say what we say but WHAT we say is still the most important. There are times when it doesn't matter HOW you say what you say - people will still be upset.  There are times when it doesn't matter WHY you say what you say - people will still find fault.  There are times when it doesn't matter WHEN you say what you - people will still be offended.  In all times, it matters most WHAT you say because wicked words hold us hostage to an offense while just words eventually liberate us from an offense.  In time, just words appear just.  In time, honesty is valued.  In time, truth is defendable.  There is no amount of time when lies are acceptable or when slander is appreciated.  Give careful consideration to WHAT you say or else you may spend a lifetime attached to and hindered by some wicked words.





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