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BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS 

Scripture: Genesis 26:12–22; Proverbs 10:11–21, 12:17–19, 15:1–4, 26:20–28; James 2–12

Memory verse: Proverbs 15:1
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Lead—In

Bring a jar of water and a container of dirt to class. Display the jar of water. Tell the students this represents a person’s life when he says kind, encouraging things to others. If he begins to gossip, lie, or say hateful things to others, something happens to his life. Begin adding dirt to the water. Comment on how murky the water is becoming. Explain that this is like what happens to our hearts and what others think of us when we say unkind things.

Remind the students that when we are truly sorry about a thoughtless remark or mean comment we have said, we can ask Jesus to forgive us. He can even help us work to restore any relationships we may have hurt by our words. It is important to remember that what we say can never be erased. That is why it is very important to always be careful about what we say. This week’s study will show how important it is to guard what we say all the time, every day.

HEARING God’s Word

Ask: “Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where no one was allowed to speak? Name some ways our lives would be different.’” (Allow responses.)

Words are an important part of our lives. If it were not for words, we would miss out on a lot in life. How would you like to play a game of football in silence? What if no one cheered and no one told the players which positions to play? It could create a lot of problems.

Words are important in other ways too. They can help us feel good or bad about ourselves.

Ask: “How would you feel if someone said you were the best football player in your class? On the other hand, how would you feel if someone made fun of you because you could not kick the ball very well?” (Allow discussion after each question.)

Words have power—power to help or power to hurt. Words spoken about you, whether good or bad, definitely affect how you feel.

The Bible has a lot to say about the words we speak. Proverbs 12:18 tells us, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” King Solomon, the writer of Proverbs was a wise man. He knew the power of words. He wrote several times about the harm caused by carelessly spoken words.

Avoiding Gossip

One way we can watch our words is by refusing to gossip. (Ask a student to read Proverbs 26:20, 22.)

Ask: “What is gossip?” (Allow responses.)

Gossiping is saying things about someone that may hurt his feelings or hurt his reputation because of what others think about him. Sometimes it is tempting to talk about or listen to unkind stories about other people, but the results can be devastating.

Do you know a person can gossip without even meaning to? He can do this simply by passing along stories he has heard without finding out whether or not they are true. Ask the students to give some examples.

A Soft Answer

Gossip is not the only reason we need to be careful about what we say.

Ask: “Can you think of other ways our words can cause problems?” (Allow discussion.)

Anger can cause us to use words unkindly. We may want to yell at someone and say things to hurt their feelings. Our memory verse this week says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1.)

Ask: “What do you think this verse means?” (Allow discussion. Then repeat the memory verse two or three times with the students.)

Angry words never solve problems. They only create more trouble and hurt. A good example of someone who refused to stir up anger is found in Genesis 26:12–22. Isaac was a man who loved and served God. Isaac had many sheep and cattle and many servants.

At this time Isaac lived in the land of the Philistines. When the Philistines saw how God was blessing Isaac, they became jealous. They filled up the wells that Isaac’s father Abraham had dug. Then Abimelech, the Philistine king, told Isaac to move away.

Isaac Keep Silent

Ask: “How do you think Isaac reacted to the way he was treated?” (Allow responses.)

Isaac could have become angry with the Philistines and caused quite a conflict. He could have said many harsh words. But Isaac did not want any problems. He did as the Philistines requested.

Isaac moved away and lived in another area of the land—Gerar. There Isaac’s servants dug a well to water the flocks and herds. But soon the herdsmen of Gerar came and quarrelled with Isaac’s herdsmen. “This well is ours!” they said.

Once again Isaac could have caused problems. He could have said some angry, vicious words and probably started a fight. But he did not do that. He gave the other herdsmen the well and had his servants dig another one. When the same thing happened again, Isaac turned this well over to the Gerar herdsmen then too. When a third well was dug, no one tried to take it away from Isaac. At last he had peace.

Isaac could have fought to stay in the land of the Philistines. He could have been hateful to the herdsmen of Gerar when they claimed his wells. However, Isaac kept control of his words. Angry words would probably have caused a war. Isaac’s refusal to use angry words helped him keep peace with his neighbours.

It is not easy to be kind when others treat you cruelly, but God will help you if you ask Him. He can help you control your words. Your life will also be a better witness for Jesus if you are kind instead of speaking in anger to the person who has hurt you.

Keep it Honest

A third way we can watch our words is by always telling the truth. King Solomon had much to say about this too. (Ask students to read Proverbs 15:4 and 26:28.) Many times it seems easier to lie than to tell the truth, especially when the truth might get you in trouble. But lying is never right.

Ask: “Have you heard the term ‘little lie’? What does it mean?” (Allow discussion.)

As far as God is concerned, there is no difference between a little lie and a big, ugly one. Both mean saying things that are not true; both are sin.

Listen to the following story:

Sarah had a neighbour named Martha. They talked to each other sometimes, but Sarah and Martha were not close friends.

One morning Martha called and asked if Sarah could come over for a visit. Sarah did not want to go. She knew her mother was going out on a quick errand later in the afternoon and she would have to watch her little brother then. “Martha, I’m sorry.” Sarah said finally, “but I have to watch my little brother.”

I did not really lie, Sarah thought to herself as she hung up the phone. I do have to watch Michael later today.

Ask: “What do you think about Sarah’s reasoning?  Was she being truthful or untruthful and why?” (Allow discussion)

Although Sarah would have to watch her brother later, she gave the impression to Martha that she was watching him at the time she called. Rather than being honest, Sarah used her brother as an excuse to keep from doing something she did not want to do.

An Unruly Member

One of Jesus’ disciples said a man could be perfect if only he could control his tongue. (Ask a student to read James 3:2–6.)

James said a horse can be controlled by putting a bit in its mouth. A ship, although weighing many tons, can be guided and kept on course by controlling a rudder that is very small in comparison to the ship.

James said that every kind of animal in the world can be brought under man’s control, but man’s own tongue cannot be tamed. (Ask a student to read James 3:7, 8.) As this is true, we have to be very careful what we say.

Is it possible to control our tongues and choose the right words to say? Only with God’s help can we control our words. For Jesus to be Lord of our lives, we have to give Him control of every part of our lives.

After Jesus returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to help us control both our thoughts and our words. As we give Him complete control of our lives, He helps us to be calm and give soft answers instead of rude replies. The Holy Spirit gives us courage and power to control the words we say and the way we say them.

Accepting God’s Word

The most important words we can say are when we are truly sorry for our sins and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Saviour. Explain the plan of salvation. Then pray individually with each student who desires salvation.

Hui Ancestors

By the middle of the seventh century, Arab and Persian traders and merchants travelled to China in search of riches. In addition, in the thirteenth century the Mongols turned people into mobile armies during their Central Asian conquests and sent them to China. These civilians were expected to settle down at various locations to farm while maintaining combat readiness. As artisans, scholars, officials, and religious leaders, they spread throughout China. These people are the ancestors of today's Hui.

REMEMBER TO PRAY! 
Pray for Harvest Workers

1. Youth to share the gospel with the Hui,
2. Parents to release their sons and daughters to go as harvest workers,
3. Local church to provide funding to send them for training and ministry.

Prayer Promise

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" (Romans 10:15).

Remember: BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS 

Memory verse: Proverbs 15:1 
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

1. Speak the truth in a loving way.
2. Honour God with my words.
3. Affirm others with positive remarks.

Pray for Chinese in my area.

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Study 7 | Migrants—Proverbs | africaatts.org/go-teach

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