Chapter 7 "Thrusts of a Sword"
“There is one who speaks rashly like
Thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise
God spoke the entire universe into existence. The Lord told us that we would be judged by every word we speak. Yet, we often hear it said that we should “speak our mind.” When searching the Scriptures, what does God have to say about the tongue? Lets discover the truth:
The Tongue, Small yet Deadly
Set on fire by hell. “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things…And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6.
No one can tame the tongue. “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?” James 3:8-11. But thank the Lord that “Nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37.
The Lord knows. Here is a sobering thought: “Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold O Lord, Thou dost know it all.” Ps. 139:4.
We need a muzzle! “I said, ‘I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle.’” Ps. 39:1. You may have great physical strength, but how about the inner strength required for self-control?
Crushes the spirit. “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.” Prov. 15:4. Are the words you speak to your wife, your children, or those at your place of work soothing? Ask yourself if you have been crushing the spirit of those you are to protect and lead.
What We Say
“The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, but the perverted tongue will be cut out.” Prov. 10:31. “There is one who speaks rashly like thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Prov. 10:31.
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from trouble.” Prov. 21:23.
This statement is clear. What you say is important. “For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” Matt. 12:37.
“Not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Matt. 15:11.
“…put them all aside; anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech....” Col.3:8. “He who gives attention to the word shall find good.” Prov. 16:20.
If you have abused your wife with your words, God is faithful; He offers a cure:
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Prov. 16:24.
“Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” Prov. 16:20.
“Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and he who speaks right is loved.” Prov. 16:13.
Have you matured? Perhaps you remember this childhood phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The fact is many of us probably still haven’t recovered from some of the harsh words that were spoken to us as children. Do you continue to hurt your wife or your children with your words? “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” 1Cor. 13:11.
How We Answer
A gentle answer. When anger or wrath is directed toward us, God tells us the response we must make as Christians in order to glorify Him. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” Prov. 15:1.
Ponders how to answer. Do you think before you speak? “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Prov. 15:28. Do you pour out evil words on other people?
Folly and shame. Do you halfway listen or cut off the other person before they’ve had a chance to share their thought with you or ask a question? “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.” Prov. 18:13. Give your wife an opportunity to get everything off her chest. Ask her questions so you are sure you understand what she is trying to tell you and why. Is she in need of empathy? Give her a listening and understanding ear. Or, perhaps, she needs help discerning something that just “talking it out” will accomplish.
Many times your wife doesn’t want you to fix her problems. She needs and wants understanding and encouragement. This sometimes takes a lot of patience, but patience is the proof of your love. "Love is patient…" 1Cor. 13:4. Are you doing all you can to be patient with your wife? Prove your love for her by being patient and understanding. "You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way…." 1Pet. 3:7.
Washed with the Word. Do you bless your wife with God’s Word and with your loving, edifying words? “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” Eph. 5:25.
How Much You Say
Many words. When there is a lot of talking and discussing, transgression (a violation of God’s Law) cannot be avoided. “With many words transgression is unavoidable.” Prov. 10:19. As the leader, direct lengthy discussions properly to a conclusion. This does not mean that you are to cut your wife off when it’s her turn to share her thoughts, or drop a hurtful “bomb” and then say the matter is finished. Be sure you have understood her. Make sure she knows you understand by giving her a positive and loving response. Most women keep on talking because they don’t feel they are being understood.
Guards his mouth. Are you careful to guard what you say to others, especially your wife? There are those who tell us to speak our mind and to share what we think, but God says, “A man of understanding keeps silent.” Prov. 11:12. And, “One who guards his mouth preserves his life; one who opens it comes to ruin.” Prov. 13:3.
Considered wise. Actually, God says that we practice wisdom and appear to be wise when we say nothing. “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise. When he closes his lips he is counted as prudent.” Prov. 17:28.
Anything more. “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ - anything beyond these is of evil.” Matt. 5:37. Nod your head up and down when your wife is talking to you. If you keep your eyes and mind on what she is trying to tell you, rather than watching the television, reading the paper, or thinking of something else, your conversation will satisfy your wife's need to be heard and understood much more quickly.
Empty chatter. “Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ - which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.” 1Tim 6:20. When you must make a decision, you do not need to argue your point of view. Just state your decision based on prayer and God’s leading. When your wife sees that your heart is striving to follow the right way, the Lord’s way, and that you are not using your authority to get your own way, then she will stop trying to control or manipulate you.
Be Content, Stop Grumbling
Do all things... “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Phil. 2:14. Do you sometimes find yourself grumbling about a task before you do it? Now, if it’s something you know you should be doing, do it and don’t grumble or dispute it! Yet, if you are being “railroaded” into doing something you don’t think you should, don’t do it. Remember the trouble it got Adam (and all of us) into. “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you’....” Gen. 3:17. “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17.
Whatever the circumstances. Are you someone who has to complain about everything that happens to you? You must learn contentment. “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Phil. 4:11. Are you setting a good example for your wife and children? Are you, as the head of your household, demonstrating to your family how to be content or are you teaching them to grumble and complain?
Great gain. Godliness and contentment must go hand in hand. “But godliness is actually a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.” 1Tim. 6:6.
Are you content? “…being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’ ” Heb. 13:5. Are you satisfied with what you have, or are you constantly trying to upgrade all your “toys” and possessions?
Crushes the spirit. Proverbs also tells us what our speech can do to our wife’s spirit. “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion (defined as “obstinate”) in it crushes the spirit.” Prov. 15:4. Is your wife less affectionate to you then she used to be? Maybe, without realizing it, you have crushed her spirit.
Is Arguing Good For Marriage?
A dry morsel. Some “experts” say that arguing can actually be good for a marriage. What does God say? “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it, than a house full of feasting with strife.” Prov. 17:1. Strife is defined as a prolonged struggle for power or superiority. There should be no struggle for power or superiority if each one in the family knows their role and each one concentrates on fulfilling that role. Strife comes when these duties are neglected or when each person is too busy seeing to it that the other person is doing what they should.
On the subject of quietness, be sure your children are quiet and under your control! It’s not only your wife’s responsibility to keep them quiet. Your presence should warrant respect and silence. (See Lesson 14 “Father’s Instructions” in the Men's Manual.)
Abandon the quarrel. Do you abandon the quarrel, or do you fight until you win? “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.” Prov. 17:14. Again, you do not need to struggle, argue, or prove yourself to be the head of your home. God has given you the leadership position. However, this should never be a place of pride or arrogance. Your headship is to be used to guide, protect and manage your family wisely under God’s direction.
Any fool will quarrel. “A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows.” Prov. 18:6. Perhaps your wife may even take a swing at you if your words are extremely painful to her. Of course, she is no match for you so this could then enter into an abusive situation. Remember to abandon the quarrel before it breaks out! She would be wrong for throwing a punch or for possibly starting the verbal fighting, but you are to be the leader and savior of the body. “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.” Eph. 5:23. Remember, “... any fool will quarrel!” Prov. 20:3.
Dealt treacherously. “...the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.” Mal. 2:14-15.
If you have dealt treacherously with your wife, then God is saying to you that you have not even a remnant of His Spirit! That is a sobering thought! Let’s each take a hard look at ourselves and get right with God, then our relationship with our wives will follow.
Covers his garment with wrong. “ ‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel, and him who covers his garment with wrong,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’” Mal. 2:16. Treacherously in the Hebrew translation is defined as to deal deceitfully, unfaithfully, offend, transgress, or depart.
To cover your garment with wrong is defined as violence, unjust gain, cruel, injustice or an oppressor. Many men are in a physical battle or emotional battle with their wives. We have all seen or known women who try to act as tough as men, but are they? Can they ever be? Think about sports that require physical strength, can men and women ever compete fairly? Have you ever witnessed a situation where a successful businesswoman gave way to tears? From her outward appearance, you may have been fooled into thinking that she was every bit as emotionally tough as a man.
It is the hope of this ministry that your wife, after seeing a change in you, will desire to read the Workbook for Women. This will encourage her to seek a gentle and quiet spirit; allowing herself to be the weaker vessel. But how will you respond to her? Will you crush her or cherish her? (Prov. 15:4, Eph. 5:29.)
Agree, Especially With Your Wife
Agree. One of the most important principles taught in the New Testament concerns agreeing with someone, especially when the other person is angry. “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him....” Matt. 5:25 KJV. Listening and nodding your head will help a lot when someone is angry or frustrated. So many times we play the “devil's advocate” trying to show someone the other side. (The name alone should warn us of the probable consequences!) Give your wife a chance to share her thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. Get on her side - and don’t fuel the fire.
Divided against itself. Satan will do all he can to illuminate the areas where you don’t agree so he can divide and conquer your family. “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” Matt. 12:25. And, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls.” Luke 11:17. “Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.” Prov. 20:3.
Agreement. This verse shows us why satan works so hard to cause disagreement between Christian couples. “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 18:19. When we don’t agree as a couple, we actually cancel each other out. It’s just as if you were going to vote for opposing political candidates, you might as well stay home. “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations knowing that they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s bond- servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged.” 2Tim. 2:23.
Deeds of the flesh are evident. It is evident to other Christians, and certainly to God, when the way we act is of a fleshly nature. “Deeds of the flesh are evident...strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, envying....” Gal. 5:19-21. “If any one advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth....” 1Tim. 6:3-5.
Fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22. “Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative.” Titus 2:9. As a Christian, you are the Lord's bondslave. He bought you with a price. You are not your wife’s bondslave. You, as Christ’s bondslave, need to be pleasing to Him.
Anger of man. You have heard some say that since Jesus was angry and turned over the tables in the temple, we can be angry. “But let everyone be quick to hear; slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20.
Again, agree! You must try to find the area of agreement instead of the point of disagreement. “Again I say that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 18:19. Take charge of a disagreement. Nod your head, find the points you agree on, and state them to her out loud. Wives want to be heard, everyone does. That’s why people get louder and begin screaming or yelling – they want to be heard and understood. Take time to consider the areas where you agree and move in that direction.
A Lying Tongue
The Lord hates. Let’s read Proverbs, which tells us much about lying. “There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood…” Prov. 6:16-18.
Deceitful. “Deliver my soul, O Lord from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.” Ps. 120:2. When your wife, or someone else, catches you in a lie (or what you may call a fib), do you deny it? Are you truthful? Or do you debate about exactly what you said to try and twist the truth to your favor? Remember, deceitful is in the definition of dealing treacherously with your wife.
Father of lies. Be sure that you never lie, because the devil is the father of lies, and lying is an abomination to God. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” John 8:44. Remember, it’s the truth that sets you free!
Impossible To Control When Drinking
Not wise. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” Prov. 20:1. The person who is intoxicated by the effects of alcohol is not wise. What you speak while intoxicated will mock you later. “And you neglected all my counsel, And did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes….” Prov. 1:25-26. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation (frivolous amusement), but be filled with the Spirit….” Eph. 5:18.
Utter perverse things. “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. ‘They struck me, but I did not become ill; they beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.’ ” Prov. 23:29-35.
A person who drinks a lot is not an alcoholic. Drinking to excess is not a disease; it’s a sin. Confess your sin if you are held by the cords of alcohol. If you stumble, continue to confess and cry out to God for deliverance.
Proceeds out. “Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Matt. 15:11. If what you are putting into yourself causes your lips to transgress, then you should stop. Do it for your wife, your children, or others who are close to you. Confess your sin and move on to victory! “…the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32. Hallelujah!
To Sum Up…
- Be aware of how much you say: With many words transgression is Instead, let your communication be Yes, yes or No, no - anything more than this will lead to evil.
- Be careful what you say: by your words you’ll be justified and by your words you’ll be condemned!
- Do not argue: agree with your adversary quickly!
- How are we to answer? Give a gentle answer, ponder (think a while) how to answer, and don’t answer before you listen, it is folly and shame!
- Learn to be content in whatever circumstances you are in.
- If healing is needed: remember, pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones, and sweetness of speech adds
- You must walk in the Spirit and stop doing whatever you “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh...these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
- The rule of thumb that will help to guide you is this: whatever comes easy for us to do in the flesh is of the flesh. Whatever is difficult to do and requires us to draw on the Holy Spirit’s strength is walking in the Spirit.
Strive to appear wise by keeping silent.
Let your words be loving and patient.
Love your wife as Christ loves His church.
Personal Commitment: To open my mouth with wisdom and healing. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to remain patient, wait before I answer, and to be sweet in my every word, especially to my wife and children.”
May God be with you as you strive to be more like Christ!