Proverbs 13:2

A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

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Speech determines success. Good words bring blessing and favor. Wicked words bring pain and destruction. Your mouth has much potential for good or evil in business or relationships. If you think you can talk any way you wish, you are going down, soon.

What a simple way to advance! What an easy rule for success! God inspired Solomon to tell you a secret about life – gracious words will get you ahead; cruel or foolish speech will bring your ruin. You can change your life for the better today by ruling your tongue.

How did Joseph go from prison to throne? By speech that showed his excellent spirit (Gen 41:38-45). How did David get promoted from sheepfold to the king’s favorite? By gracious speech (I Sam 18:1-5). How did Daniel rule in Babylon with many kings? By an excellent spirit and speech (Dan 6:1-3). The rule is easy – gracious speech will win even kings (Pr 22:11). If no one has recently commended your speech, you need the proverb.

Your speech can bring good to your life, or it can bring violence. God and good men love those who speak well, but they despise those who speak wickedly. What do your words produce in the lives of others? Because that is what you receive. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Pr 18:21). Speech is that important – death or life! Use it or abuse it to your profit or punishment.

Your mouth is not your own, no matter what your deceitful heart says (Ps 12:4; Jer 17:9). God created the ability of speech, and He gave you your mouth, and He expects you to obey His rules regarding conversation. He knows every word that you speak as well as every word that you hold back. You will be accountable now and later (Matt 12:36-37).

The proverb has many figures of speech. Eating good is God’s blessings and the praise of men. It is earned by fruit of your mouth, which is gracious and wise speech. In opposite contrast are verbal transgressors, who speak harshly and foolishly. They will eat violence, for both God and men will punish them. What is the lesson? An easy way to grow in favor with God and men is to improve your speech (Pr 3:4; I Sam 2:26; Luke 2:52).

Your speech will bring either good or violence to your soul and your life (Pr 12:14; 13:3; 18:20). Good words earn the blessings and favor of God and good men (Pr 15:23; 22:11; 24:26), for good words prove a good heart (Matt 12:34-37; Jas 3:8-12). Evil speech incurs the wrath and judgment of God and men (Pr 18:6; 22:10; Ps 52:1-5; 140:11), for evil speech proves a contrary and wicked heart (Matt 12:34-37; Jas 3:8-12).

Consider eight kinds of speech. A godly man never spreads damaging reports about others, slanders them, or backbites. Charity and mercy are in his mouth (Pr 17:9; 31:26; Ec 10:12). But a wicked man sins against others by backbiting, slander, talebearing, and whispering, all of which God and good men hate (Pr 6:16-19; 10:18; 16:28; 25:23).

A noble man always respects authority, giving honor where honor is due, and a godly woman always reverences her husband, even calling him lord (Rom 13:7; Eph 5:33; I Pet 2:17; 3:6). But an evil man boldly criticizes rulers and rails on them, like a brute and ignorant beast, whom the Bible says should be destroyed (Jude 1:8-10; II Pet 2:10-12).

A virtuous man is grave and sober, knowing life is important; he only speaks to edify others, and he avoids idle words (Pr 17:27; 29:11; Mat 12:36-37). But a wicked man chatters, talks foolishly and filthily, and jests; God ranks this kind of speech with fornication, and He is coming in judgment because of it (Pr 10:10; 26:18-19; Ep 5:3-6).

A godly man is a peacemaker: he speaks to comfort and soothe; he uses soft answers to turn away wrath; he never scorns (Pr 15:1; 25:15; 31:26). But an evil man uses harsh and proud words that provoke anger; he reviles men with names; he sarcastically cuts with words; and such women are nagging wives (Pr 12:18; 21:19; 26:21; 27:15; Matt 5:21-22).

A righteous man loves the truth and always speaks the truth, no matter what the cost might be; he is a faithful witness in all matters; he does not exaggerate (Pr 12:17; 13:5; 14:5,25). But a wicked man has deceit in his heart and tongue; he is not afraid to falsely accuse or lie; and he will spend eternity in hell (Pr 6:16-19; 12:19; 19:5,9; Rev 21:8).

A virtuous man is thankful for everything, giving glory to God for all things; he knows he is not worthy of any blessings, so he rejoices in even small kindnesses (Eph 5:20; Col 3:17; I Thes 5:18). But an evil man complains, murmurs, and whines; he only sees the negative; and he loves to criticize (Num 11:1-35; Deut 28:47-48; Jude 1:15-16).

A godly man is humble, meek, and modest; he never praises himself, not even indirectly; he only boasts of God, and he puts others first (Pr 25:27; 27:2; Ps 34:1-3; Phil 2:3-4). But a wicked man loves to talk about himself and commend himself; he will boast, and he will arrogantly put others down; he is proud in speech (Pr 8:13; 14:3; I Sam 2:3; Ps 10:3).

A gracious man is friendly, gentle, and kind; he is warm and encouraging; he is selfless and genuinely concerned about others (Pr 11:16; 16:24; 22:11; Ec 10:12; Luke 4:22). But an evil man is abrupt, arrogant, cruel, and harsh; he is selfish and begrudges others; he is loud, opinionated, and rude; he is crass and unconventional (Pr 12:18; Ec 10:12-14).

Bless yourself with goodness! Choose the good life! Stop evil talking: it is that simple (Ps 34:12-13). Read it, and believe it. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (I Pet 3:10).

Fill your mouth with praise and thanksgiving (Ps 34:1). Speak often to others about the Lord: He will write you in His special book (Mal 3:16). Let your speech be always gracious and always edifying – building others up (Eph 4:29; Col 4:6). You will have a good life and save yourself from violent punishment. Improve your speech today.