He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. ~ Proverbs 13:3
This verse makes me think of that saying, “Loose lips sink ships.” That’s one time where keeping your mouth literally enables you to keep your life. How dreadful to say the wrong thing and give away top-secret war plans or something. I’m not at war against an outward enemy, my battle is against my own flesh. Whenever I have “opened my mouth wide” (shudder) and let go of my opinion without pausing to ponder those words before they are spoken, I have found myself in a state of unhappiness or destruction, as this verse says.
Words and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it when I say the right thing, and I hate it when I don’t. But it’s not the words’ fault, it’s mine own. I control what I do and don’t say. And sometimes I steer myself right into a ditch.
Two reasons we lose control of our words:
Pride. This can be traced back as the source of many sins. On the surface, it doesn’t seem so terrible. Bragging, exaggerating or hypocrisy are forms of pride. We start to share our many talents or our latest achievements, and perhaps we make it sound a bit better than it really was. Or we tell others we are flawless in some area of the Christian life, because it would be dreadful if someone knew that we, professing Christians, struggle with sin. Next thing you know, we’re trapped by our words. It’s humiliating. It’s easier just to be ourselves and be honest.
Evil intentions. Some words are wrong because they are the result of evil intentions. We know better, but do it anyway. Gossip, sowing discord, slander and lying are due to evil intentions. Even those without Christ know that lying is wrong, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it. Christians do it, too. Despite the old saying, sticks, stones AND words can hurt.
I want to take control of my words and use them as God has instructed me in His Word. It’s a battle, but if I truly seek His help, I can win the victory.