Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 12:18
"There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing"
These two English words are really one Hebrew word batah, which means to speak rashly or thoughtlessly.
Notice what Solomon is doing here. He is comparing some who use words to stab and wound and destroy and some people use words to bring healing and wholeness.
This is the Hebrew word madqarah, which is a piercing, stab, thrust. This idea is the key idea in this verse. People use words as weapons just as they use swords. They power into people with their words.
Solomon is declaring that this is not the work of a wise person. They may be successful because people do not resist them. But this kind of person is not what you think they are. We tend to think that the person – who always has the comeback, always has the ability to put another person down or in their place, or always has the ability to win the argument – is the winner. No, who really wants to deeply connect with the person who can and will leave them bleeding emotionally or psychologically?
Having the snappy comeback does not make you a better person. In fact, it is not wise to always be able to express what you are feeling right when you are feeling it. The winner carefully selects his/her words in order to do the opposite of winning the point at times. They use words to heal.
This is the Hebrew word marpe, which means a healing, cure, health. Clearly Solomon is saying that the wise person is in exactly the same situation that the fool is in. The wise person does not use words to strike out against the other person. The wise person seeks to bring a new level of wholeness and healing in the life of others – even those others that you would like to thrust the sword of your words into.
Who are the people you would really like to tell off and unload on, thrusting the truth at them and through them? Ask yourself: What do they need to be healed from?
The first step in wisdom with your mouth is to often close it. The second step is to say something positive or keep it closed. The third step is say something that meets a need, heals, and comforts.