“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” – Proverbs 10:19
We have all heard the old adage: “Think before you speak.” How many of us actually practice that?
I find myself saying less and less as I get older (and hopefully wiser). I often ask myself, “is it worth saying?” I have come to realize that my opinion isn’t necessarily wanted or even helpful. Sometimes it nearly kills me, but I hold my tongue because I am learning slowly, ever so slowly, that everything that pops into my mind doesn’t have to come out of my mouth. “…people will give account for every careless word they speak,” Matthew 12:36
In addition to sheer quantity – saying too much, there are others times we need to hold our tongues.
Sarcasm “…There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts…” Proverbs 12:18
Gossip “…A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
Nagging “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.” Proverbs 27:15-16
Deception “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25
Having to make our point “May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?’” Psalm 12:3-4
Complaining “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” Philippians 2:14-15
Criticism “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged…” James 5:9
The old adage has value and biblical support: Think before you speak. Is it valuable? Is it worth saying? Will it add to the conversation or subtract? Am I building the other person up or tearing them down? Am I speaking in love or am I speaking with self-love?
Words are powerful. Holding our tongue when appropriate is also powerful.
Yes, “I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 – Even hold my tongue.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “God does not give us everything we want, but he does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to himself.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer