There you are, minding your own business at a church fellowship or team meeting and someone says something that wraps your hair in a tight bun. You try to control your tongue but before you can say Methuselah the words are blurting out from your lips.
“I said, ‘I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.” Psalm 39:1 (ESV)
Momma always said if you can’t say anything nice than it would be better not to say anything at all. Personally, too often I have found that harder to do than I should.
Scripture reminds us to be mindful of our words as well. Words hurt. Like bullets shot from a gun, words can’t be put back in the muzzle once they are fired. Darting out of your mouth like sharp knives, your words can cut deep wounds in people’s hearts. And there’s no going back.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 10:19 ESV
In the book of James, believers are warned of the dangers a loose tongue brings. James says the tongue is like a fire able to set the whole forest ablaze (James 3:5-6).
There is true wisdom in knowing when to keep one’s mouth shut. For one thing, it’s hard to listen when you’re always talking. This can inadvertently communicate a lack of caring for other people, particularly loved ones. Other people want to talk too.
Just because you feel like you have something to say, doesn’t mean you should say it. Blurting out every unfiltered thought that crosses your mind isn’t a great way to win friends and influence people.
But I get it. You’re passionate and committed. You want to be heard. You like to talk. Sometimes your mouth overdraws your relationship bucket. You say things you later regret.
What do you do? I think our flaws are opportunities to turn to the Lord and lean on His Word. We can’t overcome these faults relying on our natural abilities. We need supernatural healing that only God can provide.
In addition to taking your troubles to the Lord, try to resist the temptation to speak every time the urge strikes you. Bite your tongue, think before you speak, and listen first.
And don’t forget, when you mess up, own what you did and ask for forgiveness.
It’s challenging. But you can do it. I have faith in you.