Watch Your Mouth! | Faith

by | August 5, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: August 3, 2018 at 7:59 am

By ANNA BRIGHT

One thing that we all must do and that is to make sure that our brains are in action before we open our mouths.

Speaking off the cuff or spreading misinformation can bring harm to the speaker and to the one who is spoken about. The bottom line is that some of us just talk too much, not discerning what, when, where, and how to say something. Once you put something out there via your mouth, it is out there and cannot be taken back.

Proverbs 21:23 (ESV) states, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” In other words, watch your mouth!

As adults, we are very quick to tell youngsters this, but sometimes we need to take our own advice. Hearing a “juicy” piece of gossip and then spreading it all over town, blaming it on the “street committee,” is irresponsible and cruel. Therefore, we must take heed to what the Word tells us in Matthew 12:36 (ESV), “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”

In the first article that I wrote almost three years ago for my column, I used the anonymously written illustration, “Mildred, the Church Gossip,” to strengthen my points. However, it is also apropos to strengthen my points in this article, so I am going to share it again.

“Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.

“She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house … and left it there all night!”

When you open our mouth unnecessarily and without the proper knowledge, you can hurt others and ultimately, yourself. If someone comes and tells you something that was said about you, the first thing you should want to know, “Why did he or she feel so comfortable telling you?”

Remember that a dog that brings a bone carries one as well. Opening your mouth at the right time and saying the right thing shows intelligence. Mark Twain, an American writer, humorist, and entrepreneur said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Therefore, watch your mouth! Jessie Rice Sandberg, author of The Sum of My Happiness, wrote a segment in this literary selection entitled, “When to Keep Your Mouth Shut.” There are 20 times that she mentions when you should not open your mouth, along with a Scripture to support each one. I will share 10 of them. Sandberg says, “Don’t open your mouth:

n  ‘When you haven’t verified the story. Deuteronomy 17:6’

n  ‘If you would be ashamed of your words later. Proverbs 3:7-8’

n  ‘When you are attempted to tell an outright lie. Proverbs 4:24’

n  ‘When it is time to listen. Proverbs 13:1’

n  ‘If the issue is none of your business. Proverbs 14:10’

n  ‘In the heat of anger. Proverbs 14:17’

n  ‘If your words will damage someone’s reputation. Proverbs 16:27’

n  ‘When you don’t have all the facts. Proverbs 18:13’

n  ‘If your words will offend a weaker brother. I Corinthians 8:11’

n  ‘If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family. I Peter 2:21-23’”

Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

 

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

 

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