23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
This saying is set in the context of having wise counsellors. There is great profitability in listening to men who can provide wise advice about matters of life, including both spiritual and mundane matters.
God wants His people to cultivate wise speech. It is unquestionably God’s will concerning us that we be wise in speech to exhort and edify one another. In His Word, God has expressed His great expectation concerning our communication with one another – “The lips of the righteous feed many” (Proverbs 10:21). Also, “the tongue of the wise is health” (Proverbs 12:18), i.e. wherever wise speech is maintained, the affairs of life will be healthy. Moreover, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4); thus when the tongue is guided by the Spirit of God and by the words of Holy Scripture, it will elicit wise thoughts that nourish the hearers.
In every Christian home, godly conversation must always be maintained. Parents are expected to be wise teachers of their children at home. They must teach their children God’s truth (Deuteronomy 6:6- 7; 11:19). Furthermore, children are warned against swearing against the parents. “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness” (Proverbs 20:20).
The Christian’s duty to exhibit gracious, wholesome speech is repeatedly exhorted in the epistles of Paul. In Ephesians 4:29, he admonished, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” By the same token, he said in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” The provider of an apt answer will indeed have great joy. His own conscience will rejoice that his words have been helpful; on top of that, the gratefulness of the hearer will also be a reason for his joy.
We should be careful not only about the content and manner of our speech, but also about the timeliness of our speech. “A word … in due season, how good is it!” Our words should befit the situation. A piece of advice, given at the right moment and in the most suitable manner, will be very profitable to the hearers. So before we speak, let us examine whether our words are truthful, edifying, gracious and appropriate.