Proverbs 12:17

Proverbs 12:17 "He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit."
Proverbs 12:17 WNY Buffalo NY Church
The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue.  In the New Testament, James tells us that it is an unruly evil that no man can tame (James 3:8).  He declares it a fire and a world of iniquity full of deadly poison (James 3:6,8).  Here in the Old Testament, Solomon tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).  While both James and Solomon were giving the tongue the respect it deserves, Jesus puts their inspired insight into perspective when He said these words, “OUT of the abundance of THE HEART the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12:34).  He added these words in Matthew 15:18-19, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth FROM THE HEART; and they defile the man. For OUT of the HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”  The reason the tongue is so dangerous and so powerful is because it reveals the heart.  

Words in and by themselves are not the problem – the insight and the revelation they bring is what causes the problem.  It’s one thing to hear what someone SAYS about you; it’s another thing to learn how someone FEELS about you through their words.  It’s one thing to hear filthy and profane words from your daughter’s boyfriend; it’s another thing to learn how profanely he thinks through his words.  The reason words hurt is because they reveal how hearts feel.  The reason the tongue has massive power to cause tremendous pain is because it reveals the heart.  If a stranger says, “I hate you,” it doesn’t feel good but it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as when your family member or friend says the same three words.  When a stranger lies about you, it doesn’t feel great but it doesn’t bring nearly the amount of pain that results from a friend lying about you.  Words are just tiny informants of what the heart of a person looks like and it can really hurt when you learn how a loved one really feels.
 
Every word we speak reveals something about us.  

Every word that falls from our tongue tells someone something about us.
 
If a true word falls from our tongue, it tells someone that righteousness resides in our heart.  If a false word falls from our tongue, it informs someone that deceit resides in our heart.  Solomon is telling us that what we say portrays who we are.  The TONGUE is the PAINTBRUSH of our PORTRAIT.  Every word we speak paints a stroke or adds a dot of color to the canvas of our reputation.  When we speak wholesome and true words, the canvas receives bright and cheery colors.  When we speak cruel and false words, the canvas of our reputation receives dark and dreary colors.  Every word we speak is another stroke and the portrait people see gets more and more detailed the more we speak.  This is why a quiet person is so mysterious.  Their portrait is a mere silhouette lacking in detail because their life lacks words.  Words show forth the heart.  Words show forth the true feelings and the real devices of the heart.
 
This proverb highlights the need to pay attention to the words people speak.  If someone tells you details that aren’t entirely true about a person or an event, they are revealing deceit in their heart.  If deceit resides in or rules their heart, that person can’t be trusted.  If someone tells you something about someone that you find out wasn’t entirely true, they’re telling you something about themselves that is true – they can’t be trusted.  Listen to the words of a person for they are little informants helping you know the character of that person.  Listen to the words of a person for they are colors and features forming the true image of the person who is talking.  Appreciate and respect THE TONGUE of a person in your life – it is the paintbrush that paints the most accurate portrait of that person.  
Our eyes have limitations – they can see the actions of a person but they can’t see the motives of a person.  Our EARS however have much more to offer – they can hear the words that paint the picture of a person in dimensions that reveal motive and character.  If a person isn’t honest about another person or a particular scenario, that deceitful soul is showing forth a reason to stay clear of them.  Eventually, they’ll speak deceitfully and falsely about you as well.

Because the tongue can’t be tamed, who we truly are always and eventually makes it way onto the canvas.  What we say tells a person everything they need to know.  What we say tells us a person who we really are.

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