"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healings."
The book of Proverbs contrasts wisdom and folly and the wise and the foolish. Proverbs has much to say about the words we use. Words are very powerful. We can use them for good or for evil. The proverb we are looking at today, contrasts the way the wise will use words and the way that the foolish will use words.
Words like Swords
Sword thrusts are a common picture in the Bible for hateful words. Psalm 55:21 "His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords." See also Psalm 57:4, Psalm 59:7 and Psalm 64:3. David's enemies used gossip and slander to attack David. We can use words like swords too. Our words can cut and wound like swords. Our words can even kill. They can destroy a person's reputation. These words leave wounds that stay with people all their lives. One ugly thrust of a hateful word can cripple a person for as long as they live. In fact, churches are ruined by a few "word" warriors. The people who praise God in the worship service, afterwards, go about hacking down fellow church members. See James 3: 9-10. This is foolishness. This is how the foolish people of the world act. Words that are motivated by hate and bitterness are what characterize the unregenerate heart. Christians are called to something greater.
Words like Medicine
The wise will use their words to heal and do good. These words will flow from a new heart that wants to love others. The love of God has been poured out into their hearts, and that leads to a desire to love with words. Words can do so much good. They can heal deep wounds caused by someone's words. Wise words will encourage, comfort, and bless others. The wise will correct and rebuke. When they do this, they will do it with such love that the other will have no doubt that their motivation is love. The wise will use correcting words like a doctor uses a scalpel to cut only so that he can heal. Consider Ephesians 4: 29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear." The wise will use words to build up the body of Christ. They will speak words that will bring holiness to God's people. They will use words to bring salvation to unredeemed sinners. Wise words can heal great wounds and have a great God-glorifying impact.
The truth is we all have used our words like swords. We have been foolish with our words. This should again remind us that we need the forgiveness and grace of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We should again be thankful for the love of God towards unworthy sinners like ourselves. This fresh appreciation of the love of the Lord should motivate us to use our words in love to heal others. By the Holy Spirit within us, we will be able to do so. So when you go to church tomorrow, resolve to use words to bring healing.