"He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is
"He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive."
Proverbs 17:27, 28
"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles."
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
Proverbs 15:1, 2
"The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;
The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness.
A fool also multiplies words, no man knows what is to be; who can tell him what will be after him?"
"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.
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so."
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Needless to say, what we choose to come out of our mouth is extremely important. Nothing causes us more problems in this life than the words we say, which once they were spoken either caused harm or painted us a fool. People make fun of the mistakes made when speaking by saying they "stuck their foot in their mouth", but the damage done by words is usually better equated with daggers and swords than feet of animals.
A wise person is a person who THINKS before engaging mouth. A wise person knows that silence at times is truly golden. Those who must hear themselves talk to feel good about themselves are fools according to the Bible. Many there are in this world who spend most of their life talking and little of their life ever listening.
Once a word is spoken it cannot be taken back. That is why it is so very important to make sure what comes out of the mouth truly reflects what is in the heart. Of course the exception to this is "inspired utterance" which is given by the Holy Spirit which demands no forethought. But, that is a subject for another time. Outside of inspired utterance, we all need to be more careful in what we say and how we say it. It is almost always a prescription for disaster to allow the mouth to speak when in a fit of rage. Most things said that we want so dearly to take back were spoken when the mind was angry or upset.
Have we not all fired off a letter or e-mail to someone who made us mad or hurt our feelings saying all sorts of noble sounding things but the tone of the communication was full of venom? Far better it is to go ahead and write such things, but DO NOT SEND IT for 24 hours. Wait a day and read what you wrote and see if that is still how you feel. If it is, then send it; if not then re-write it. This is wisdom and this is how to keep the tongue under control.
It is very difficult to keep the tongue under control, but it is one of those things in life which is vital to do if we truly want our lives to be a blessing to others. I don't know about you, but some of the people I like least to be around are those whom I deem "walking volcanoes". Those who could erupt at any moment with billows of fire and smoke are not the kinds of people you want to say anything to lest it set off the volcano.
I don't want to be classified as a "loose cannon" which describes many who shoot words out of their mouth like a machine gun. Funny, these same people make snap decisions without any forethought also. I am fully aware that great leaders are willing and able to make decisions on the spur of the moment, but great leaders also place great emphasis on the input of others and carefully consider all options before making the toughest decisions.
In our word centered society it is often hard to get a word in edgewise or any other wise. We are bombarded with words from every direction at all hours of the day. Not only must we choose wisely what we SAY, but what we LISTEN to, READ or WATCH. The words we allow into our minds and ponder in our hearts turn into the very things we end up believing and staking our lives on. Thus, we must be very careful what we honestly consider/ponder just as we must be very careful what we say.
Words do reflect, portray and announce what we feel and believe. To be a good tree producing good fruit we must carefully decide which words to let into our heart and we then must be careful to allow only those words which reflect our heart to come forth out of our mouth. There is perhaps nothing more sad in this life than watching someone lose it all because of what they said without thinking. Although specifically directed at another part of this discussion; I will close with a phrase that is applicable to any and all aspects of communication: "Loose lips sink ships".
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Kirk M is a retired minister living with his wife and animals in rural eastern Missouri
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Published: May 29 2008 05:53:56am