Monday, March 20, 2023

Power of the Tongue (Proverbs 13:3; 15:28; 17:27)

"He who guards his mouth preserves his life …" (Prov. 13:3).

One of the most powerful weapons in the world is the tongue. With it relationships are destroyed, reputations ruined, and lives lost. The power of the tongue should never be underestimated. A word misspoken can trigger a chain of events that might never have been anticipated by the speaker, and once the word is out, once that chain of events is in motion, rarely can it be stopped.

Proverbs speaks prolifically about the tongue. Solomon warned his children time and again to control the tongue, to use it for good, and to be sparing in its use. Most of us have heard the exhortation “think before you speak,” but how many of us abide by it? Do you weigh your words before you utter them? Do you take time to consider to whom you are speaking, whether the timing is right, whether its your place to speak? Do you hold your tongue when you are angry? Do you stop to consider the state of mind of the other person before you speak? Do you have enough self-control to approach a volatile subject when tempers have cooled? The contentious wife in the proverb we studied last week considered none of these things. She allowed her tongue to wag freely, disregarding who it might harm, and ignoring the dreadful effect she had on her husband.

Take a moment to reflect on your tongue’s record. How often have you spoken when you should have remained silent? How many times have you brought embarrassment upon yourself, or someone else, because you spoke out of turn? How often have you revealed yourself to be the fool by speaking when it would have been wise to be quiet? Probably more times than you can count.

While you cannot change the past, you can control yourself in the future. Bridges teaches that consideration is an important part of the Christian character. This is nowhere more important than in the discipline of the tongue. Think before you speak. Consider the circumstances, and opt for silence if there is any doubt whether you should speak. The wicked have no restraint: They don’t care what they say or whom they hurt. Not so the Christian. Cultivate wisdom in silence. Choose your words carefully, and speak only that which is edifying, pure, and excellent. By God’s grace you can do all things, even bridle a fiery tongue.

Take note of circumstances that demand that you consider your speech. Ask God for wisdom and self-control to know when to speak and what to say. Throughout the day, consciously think before you speak. Ask yourself, do I need to speak? Is what I have to say necessary? Is it godly and edifying? Am I angry? If so, wait and speak later.