Of Whom, What, and How Much?
Hardly have words left your mouth when you wish you could have bitten your tongue and never said them. Who has not had an experience like that? Do you remember what a terrible taste to have your foot in your mouth? We do not have to be reminded of the embarrassment which followed, the hurt we inflicted, or the disgust we felt because we failed to be careful with words. When those words leave our lips, they cannot be recovered. The cannot be covered. Their influence is felt for a while.
The wise man made several piercing statements about words. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin” (Proverbs 10:19). “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3). “He that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief” (Proverbs 17:20). “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:7). But in spite of all the warnings and personal “bad experiences,” we go on saying things we ought not say.
James 3:1-10 addresses the need to watch out for your words. Using incorrect language in writing r not being able to pronounce words is a sad commentary on the literacy of society. However, the worst use of words is using them in a way that falls short of the standard God expects. Crude, profane, obscene, and harsh words violate God’s standards for what is needed to develop good relationships with others. When out of the mouth come forth blessings and cursings, God is very clear: “These things ought not so to be” (James 3:10).
Most problems are easier to prevent than cure. Nowhere is that more applicable than to those problems we bring on ourselves with careless words. Too often the theory, “Think twice before you speak” turns into “Speak twice before you think.”
If your lips would keep from slips
Of five things have a care:
To whom you speak, of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.