When Silence Is Golden
“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
Watching my newest grandchild Max this past Monday put his foot in his mouth while laying on his back reminded me how limber we all once were. It was quite impressive watching him effortlessly take his foot in his hand and easily place it in his mouth. Though I can’t lay on my back and make my foot reach my mouth literally, I have more times than I am capable of counting put my foot in my mouth figuratively speaking. I’m not alone for sure and the apostle Peter himself had a habit of saying something profound one minute and then within seconds he would suffer from what some call, “Foot in mouth disease”. Almost everyone would admit to saying something that they wish they could take back but once it's spoken taking it back would be like chasing a feather.
Conquering the tongue the Bible teaches us is impossible without the help of God. Just read the book of James who tells us James 3:5-9, “See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.” Guilty as charged.
Whats a person to do? Believe it or not the Bible has much to say about when to keep our mouth shut. Remember, the acrostic for Bible is, “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” and its true. Our Bible is filled with do’s and don’ts. Here is a great list of passages you can look up on your own if you would say openly and honestly you need to learn better when not to open your mouth. Here are just a few.
1. If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord as your friends and family. 1 Peter 2:21-23
2. When you feel critical. James 3:9
3. When you are tempted to tell an outright lie. Proverbs 4:24
4. When you are tempted to make light of holy things. Ecclesiastes 5:2
5. When you would be ashamed of your words. Proverbs 8:8
6. If your words will offend a weaker brother. 1 Corinthians 8:11
7. When its time to listen. Proverbs 13:1
8. When you are tempted to joke about sin. Proverbs 14:9
9. If the issue is none of your business. Proverbs 14:10
10. In the heat of anger. Proverbs 14:17
11. When you are supposed to be working instead. Proverbs 14:23
12. If your words damage someones reputation. Proverbs 16:27
13. When you haven’t verified the story. Deuteronomy 17:6
14. If your words convey a wrong impression. Proverbs 17:27
15. When you don’t have all the facts. Proverbs 18:13
16. If you may have to eat your words later. Proverbs 18:21
17. If you have already said it more than one time. (Then it becomes nagging) Proverbs 19:13
18. When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person. Proverbs 24:24
19. If your words will destroy a friendship. Proverbs 25:28
20. If you can’t speak without yelling. Proverbs 25:28
“The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble”
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