243 posts

Hear Her: Fight the Urge to Fix

Like Peter in Gethsemane, many of us are prone to pull our swords and swing before we ask pertinent questions. We hear of a problem with our children, our neighbors, our home, or our marriages and we immediately unsheathe our swords and start looking for a dragon to slay. For others, they reach for their toolboxes and power saws with the aim of gutting and remodeling instead of studying the blueprints. Sometimes this is appropriate. If our wives come to us in need of help, it is fitting that we act quickly. However, there are times in marriage when the best and most helpful thing we can do is unplug our power tools, grab a cup of coffee or tea, […]

Hear Her: Listen Actively

From cell phones to incessant demands from work, many guys feel justified in developing the ancient art of zoning out. As men redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, the grace we have received should impact every area of our lives— including our ears. It is likely the understatement of the century to say that our wives often have helpful, wise, and biblically insightful things to say. In other words, don’t be a fool: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Prov. 12:15). One of the ways that we can honor, love, and encourage our wives is to zone in and hear them. This takes effort on our part. […]

Guard Your Wife’s Heart Too

For previous entries in this series, see “Pursue Godly Manhood” and “Don’t Let Chivalry Die on Your Watch.” Guard Her Heart Too Protecting your wife includes protecting her spiritually, not just physically. To this end, a Christian husband should exercise great care in guarding his wife from the many threats to her spiritual health. As you talk about life, jobs, kids, neighbors, church members, and money, be sure that your speech does not tempt her to sin. My wife and I communicate regularly; it is a gift in our marriage that has paid many dividends. However, I have foolishly steered many conversations away from healthy discussion to rank gossip and slander. We need Paul’s words stamped on our brains and […]

Truthful Words: How to Avoid Gossip

Given that gossip is so destructive, and we are so readily inclined to participate in it, how can we put a stop to its pernicious power over us? Proverbs provides us with two helpful pieces of wisdom to help us quash the power of gossip. Watch What You Say “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down” (Proverbs 26:20). The first way to avoid the destructive effects of gossip is to watch what you say. Like a fire among dry kindling, gossip has a voracious appetite. But if we refuse to pass on gossip, we effectively stop its advance, for gossip can only destroy if it is continually fueled. We must refuse to be the next […]

Truthful Words: Why Do We Gossip?

If gossip is so destructive, why do we do it? I think there are two reasons. First, gossip is so common in this fallen world that we can easily perceive it as a relatively minor offense in God’s eyes. We tend to see these speech sins as less serious than sins of physical action, like murder and adultery. But such a distinction is completely foreign to the Bible. Murder and adultery may be more dramatic than gossip and slander, but in terms of greater and lesser degrees of sinfulness, Scripture draws no lines. For example, in Romans 1:29–31, the apostle Paul includes gossip and slander in the list of the perversions describing those who have rejected God: They have become […]

Speak Truthful Words

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. (Proverbs 12:19) In addition to thoughtful and timely words, we are called to speak truthful words. Proverbs 12:19 uncovers the underlying difference between truthful and false speech. Truthful speech, because it is rooted in the very character of God himself, is eternal. Once spoken, it does not change or decrease in value. But lies change and fade quickly. Like all sin, they may appear true or profitable in the short run (thus their popularity), but that fantasy cannot endure for long. Compared to the eternal nature of truth, lies last only a moment. A wise person therefore seeks to speak only that which is true. When the book […]

Timely Words: Do I Have the Right to Speak?

From God’s perspective, we all have the right to address one another regarding sin and holiness. Here, however, I’m referring to that “right” (and using the term loosely) as it is perceived by the person being spoken to. Sometimes words of correction are untimely and ineffective simply because the recipient believes the giver has not earned the right to speak them. This takes discernment by the person who would do the speaking. Here are some factors to consider. A word of correction is more likely to be received if the recipient is spiritually mature. He or she will know that God wants us to correct one another graciously, and can speak correction through even a donkey when necessary (Numbers 22:28). […]

Timely Words: Is it Better to Remain Silent?

The book of Proverbs has a strong bias in favor of silence, or at least the very spare use of words by the wise. Consider, for example, Proverbs 17:27–28, “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” The second part of this proverb uses humor to reinforce the first part: fools who imitate the wise in their silence can often appear wise…at least for a while! Proverbs 10:19 emphasizes the linkages between silence, holiness, and wisdom. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Clearly, the […]

Speak Timely Words

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:23) In this proverb, the emphasis is on words that are apt by virtue of their timeliness. To be wise, our words must not only be thoughtfully chosen, but well-timed. This is obviously not the timing of a comedian who knows exactly how long to hold a pause before delivering the punch line. This timing involves a natural and spiritual sensitivity to circumstances which God can help us develop. Timeliness is an area in which we should all be seeking to grow. While some words would of course be wrong on any occasion, the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us of the corresponding truth that […]

Slow Down and Listen

Foolish responses without listening will make your children disinterested in speaking with you. They will take their conversations somewhere else where they can be heard. If your children are saying “You never listen to me,” it is because they feel you never listen to them. Slow down and listen. There is a perceptive insight in Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” There is more depth in your children than you might imagine. Drawing those deep waters out requires patience and great skill. It also requires being sensitive to the right moment. There are times when children are talkative and times when you cannot pry anything from them […]