Whoever controls his mouth protects
his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin (Proverbs 13:3, GWT).
Friend to Friend
I recently received an email from a
friend who told me the story of a private school in Washington that faced an
unusual problem. Some of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and
would gather around the mirrors in the bathroom to compare shades and apply
The girls thought it was cute to then press their lips to the bathroom
mirrors, leaving dozens of lip prints. The maintenance man did not
think it was cute because he had to clean the mirrors – and you know how
icky lipstick on a mirror can be.
Every night the maintenance man would remove the lipstick prints only to find
that the girls put them back the next day.
The principal finally decided that something had to be done. She called all
the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She
explained that all the lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian
who had to clean the mirrors. The principal then asked the maintenance man to
demonstrate what he had to do to remove the lipstick and how much effort was
required. A stunned silence fell across the bathroom as the weary maintenance
man took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the
mirror. There has not been a single lip print left on the mirror since that day.
We read that story and think it is both funny and repulsive. Yet the words we
speak often carry the same kind of filth. We need to be speaking life – not
death into other people. That sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But when we criticize
and put others down, when we gossip about others, we are speaking destruction
into their lives.
- Unless strained through discipline and holiness, words can impart false
perspectives and untruths. But the right word, spoken at the right time and in
the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion, light on a very dark
path, and wisdom where there is foolishness.
- I believe God gives us spiritual radar so we can assess a situation and
speak the right word for that circumstance. In fact, Paul writes, “Let your
conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer
for everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
Solomon also offers great wisdom concerning the use of words, “Whoever
controls his mouth protects his own life. Whoever has a big mouth comes to ruin”
(Proverbs 13:3, GWT). If we do not learn to use and control our tongue, it will
use and control us. We need to choose our words carefully.
Proverbs 34:13 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."
The word “keep” indicates an action on our part. We decide. We choose what is
allowed to take up room in our mind. It is literally the idea of a guard
standing at the gate of the city, stationed there to keep watch. He is there by
invitation only. If we want to live right and speak right – we must think right,
constantly guarding our mind. And that is not all. We must guard our heart as
Godly responses come from the heart. If there is something wrong with our
words, then there is something wrong with our heart. The truth of Proverbs 16:23
is profound in its simplicity, “A wise man's heart guides his mouth.”
Words are powerful.
Words can destroy or build.
We need to make the choice today – to respond in the right way to angry or
hurtful words that are surely headed our way tomorrow.
We need to set our hearts and minds on speaking words of life every time we
have the opportunity to do so.
Father, I want to please You by
encouraging others with the words I speak. Clean my heart, God. Transform my
mind and fill my mouth with words that honor You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Examine the words you have spoken
today in light of the following verse:
Psalm 19:14 ”May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be
pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
How did you do? I encourage you to memorize this verse. Ask God to let its
truth take root in your heart and work its way out in the words you speak.
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