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Restraining Our Words

Proverbs 17:27 – Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Have you ever been upset or aggravated with someone and said something you regretted? It happens to everyone at some point. Or have you ever been arguing with someone in person or on social media and you wanted to have the last word because you couldn’t let their last untrue thing go unaddressed? I’m the worst at this. I hate letting someone have the last word when the last thing they said was untrue. It is a struggle to restrain myself. 

Our passage today talks about the ability to restrain ourselves. The proverb says, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” What does it mean to restrain our words? It means to hold them back. It means to lock them down and not let them out. Why do we need to restrain them? Because we are eager and quick to let them run wild. Words are like a wildfire that can set a forest ablaze. We can injure with our words. We can say things that hurt people’s feelings and shape their identities for years to come. Words are powerful. This is why the Scriptures teach repeatedly about guarding our words and using them wisely. In the case of this passage, we are to restrain them. 

The person who restrains their words has knowledge. There is a wisdom displayed by the person who can zip their lip. Why? Because we show an understanding of how unrestrained words can cause damage. Unrestrained words can tear apart relationships. This is why the proverb says “he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” A cool spirit is a calm demeanor. It is someone not easily flustered or agitated. There are many times in life where we can grow agitated or angry. It can be friends, parents, co-workers, strangers online or in public, kids, or family members. 

How we handle our desire to have the last word or say that thing we know will be a dagger is a mark of wisdom or foolishness. Wisdom restrains our words. A cool spirit reveals we have some understanding of the power of words. In the moments you feel compelled to let your words keep going, pray. Ask the Lord to give you contentment. Die to your need to be right, understood, or have the last word. Show wisdom and restrain your words. 

Reflection & Journal: 
- What is an example of you not being able to stop arguing or restrain your words?
- Why is it so difficult to restrain our words? What is the temptation?
- How can we battle the internal desire to keep arguing or win the debate?

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