Proverbs 26

“As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife” (v21).  The proverbs say that, far from being harmless, our words can stir up just as much damage as “sticks and stones.”  Gossip and hot tempers can make a small conflict much worse (v20-22), and careless or less-than-truthful words can have violent, destructive consequences (v18-21).  Further, the character of a person and their words can’t be separated; the messenger is as important as the message (v6, 9-10).  

In the New Testament, James teaches us that learning to manage our speech is the key to self-control (James 3:2), and our words are “fresh water” to others (3:11).