Source of our Words: Words originate in the heart.
Q1: Read the following verses. What’s the overarching theme?
Note: As you read, imagine that you’re in a coffee shop and discussing the verses with someone sitting across for you. How would you summarize each verse? What personal application could you make? What examples would you use? Now share your thoughts with the group. Have others in the group do the same. (you don’t have to do all the verses, just pick a few.)
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 12:23 “The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but the hearts of fools broadcast their foolishness.”
Proverbs 16:23 “From a wise heart comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive.”
Proverbs 10:20 “The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.”
Proverbs 26:3 “Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.”
Proverbs 26:24-26 “People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. They pretend to be kind but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils. While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will finally come to light for all to see.”
Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life.”
Matthew 12:34: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Discussion 1: Our words and hearts are intertwined.
Q1: Read the following statement: Our only hope for producing, consistent, life-giving words from our hearts, is that Jesus change our hearts. Think about How your own heart has been changed? In your own words, describe what makes this statement true.
Q2 One way God changes the heart is through personal disciplines. Those heart-shaping disciplines include time in God’s word, in prayer, and with God’s people. Share how these disciplines have shaped you personally.
Discussion 2: We want to speak wise words…but we cannot eliminate all the risk involved speaking words.
Q1: Terry said, “Faith and faithfulness involve some risk. Proverbs gives us the path of ‘word risk management” but not a path of “word risk avoidance.’” What was his point?
Note: Risk management is praying, disciplining yourself, listening, being slow to speak, repenting when you misspeak. Risk avoidance is, “Saying nothing and doing nothing because you might say something or do something stupid.” NO…the gospel needs to be spoken, at times rebuke needs to be verbalized, and warnings need to be given…and even encouragement that maybe people don’t receive as you intended…still needs to be given.
Q2: When it comes to your own words, where would you place yourself in the risk management camp or the risk avoidance camp? Share why you chose the camp you did.
Discussion 3: We need to give others the grace that we want from them
Q1: The goal of words should be to communicate truth, and to love others. We’re to build relationships with others to bless and be blessed in the fruit of our words. What are some practical things you can do to make this a reality in your life? Note: Remember what Jesus and James said.
Application: God-honoring, people-loving speech is the goal…and having that as the goal…helps change us at the heart level. This goal…life-giving speech…can help empower both habit and heart change. Words start in the heart…above all else guard your heart.