A man who speaks off the top of his head, saying hastily whatever comes to mind, without making sure he is telling the whole truth; his words perish, i.e. they lose credibility. But the man who hears, i.e. he listens carefully and checks facts out before he speaks; his words carry weight and authority. The credibility of a statement is determined by the character of the person who makes the statement. Did you ever notice that when preachers are trying to get a point across they often use the statements of someone their congregation has confidence in. I often quote men like John R. Rice, Charles Spurgeon, Lee Roberson because Baptist people have confidence in those men. When Jesus spoke, He spoke “as One having authority.” “The man that heareth speaketh constantly” simply means that a man who really listens and only speaks when he is sure of what he is saying, his words go on speaking forever.
Solomon has a lot to say about our words. Jesus said, “By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” We ought to be as careful of our words as a man would be who was just arrested for a crime and the officer reading him his rights said, “Whatever you say can and will be used against you.” One day we will be tried by our words because truthfully our words reveal our character. Proverbs15:28 says, “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer; but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”
To say things off the top of our head without thinking through what the right answer is, is to lose credibility. Many times when asked a question, we ought to say, “I am not sure, let me think and pray about that.” Or, we might say, “Let me check my facts to make sure I am giving you the correct answer.” Remember the Bible says, “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.”(Proverb24:26)
It is good to be called “a man of few words.” The scripture tells us that “in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin,” and “Seest thou a man hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.”
Questions to Ponder
1. Are you quick to speak before you think? Look up James 1:19,20.
2. We really do like to be “the answer man” don’t we? It threatens our security to be without answers. Sometimes to just say, “I don’t know,” is the only honest answer we can and should give.
3. Matthew 12:36 says that we will be judged “for every idle word that we speak.” Do you see a connection between idle words and words that “perish”?