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Watch Your Mouth

A delightful Christian friend of mine told me a while back, Ron, you always seem to say the right thing. Oh, how I wish that were true. He had not heard many of the things I have said. I have done and said many things in my life that I would like to undo and unsay. It appears to me that the most painful and regrettable are not things I*ve done, but things I*ve said. My tongue has harmed people, even people I love. It has harmed me. It has even been dishonoring to God. Worst of all, some of the awful things I*ve said have even been said after I was born again.

There ought to be a change in the way one uses his tongue after he becomes a Christian. If there has never been a defining moment in your life when your speech was changed and cleaned up, you may not be a Christian at all. There should at least be painful remorse when a Christian sins and misuses his tongue.

II Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Certainly one of the things that become new will be the way we speak.

Proverbs 10:32: The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh forwardness.

Proverbs 11:11: By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

James 3:10: Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

We shall all be judged by God for the words we speak. We are also judged by men.

Matthew 12:37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Proverbs 10:31: The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the forward tongue shall be cut out.

Proverbs 12:13: The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

God is also concerned about the unconstructive, meaningless and needless talking we do.

Matthew 12:36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

The Lord is not just concerned with what we say. He is also concerned with who and what we listen to and agree with.

Proverbs 17:4: A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

I am often guilty of speaking before I think, speaking too soon. The Bible teaches that is foolish.

Proverbs 18:13: He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Many times the best thing we can say is . . . nothing.

Proverbs 11:12-13: He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Proverbs 21:23: Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Proverbs 17:9: He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

For fools it even seems inappropriate for them to say something wise. We are also often surprised and disappointed with what wise people say.

Proverbs 17:7: Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

Talking too much is also not advisable for a Christian.

Proverbs 10:19: In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Even common sense tells there are times when we ought to be listening rather than talking.

Proverbs 10:8: The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

The sources of the evil things that come out of our mouths are the sinful human heart, our pride (which God condemns) and the pit of hell.

Matthew 15:18: But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Psalms 12:3-4: The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

This passage brings to mind some of the TV evangelists, the Blab it and Grab it crowd. They think just by praying or speaking certain words in a certain way, they can force God to give people health, wealth and power. Hogwash!! Many try to inappropriately control others with their long and loud words.

James 3:6: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

We need to be aware of the destructiveness of our tongues and the harm they can do.

Proverbs 11:9: An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Proverbs 12:18: There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 16:27: An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 26:22-28: The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit with him. When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

James 3:5-10: Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

What has been said about our speech thus far has been very negative, and properly so. But our tongues CAN BE a blessing for others and for ourselves.

Proverbs 25:11-12: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

Proverbs 15:4: A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 15:1-2: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 25:15: By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Proverbs 15:23: A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

James 3:8a says flatly: But the tongue can no man tame: . . .

The fact is we are helpless and hopeless when it comes to our tongues. So what can we do about it? Praise God with his help we can get control of our tongues and make them instruments of righteousness and blessing. It*s a matter of yielding to the Holy Spirit, and asking for His help in what we speak. I have had two wonderful Pastors who exemplified this. In conversations with both of them, they always thought before they spoke, and I believe they were seeking God*s help with their answers. There was often a time of a few seconds between when I spoke and when they answered. I remember thinking hurry up and say something.

Psalms 141:3: Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Isaiah 50:4: The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

Colossians 4:6: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

James 1:19: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

James 3:2: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ecclesiastes 5:2: Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

There are many good things, even in this mortal life, that come out of our using our tongue properly.

Proverbs 21:23: Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Psalms 34:12-14: What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Pastor Roger Williams Jr. has come up with some useful questions we ought to ask ourselves. Does what I say --

Edify or destroy?
Hurt or restore?
Bring hope or add misery?
Feed or starve?
Bring up dirt?
Is it healthy?
Does it fit?
Is it timely?
Does it need to be said?
Could it be said another way?
Will it give grace?
Will it benefit the hearer?
Would God want you to say it?

Here are four poems on the tongue that speak a lot of truth:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

The boneless tongue, so small and weak
Can crush and kill, declared the Greek.
The tongue destroys a greater hoard
The Turk asserts, than does the sword.
The Persian proverb wisely saith
A lengthy tongue -- an early death.
Or sometimes takes this form instead
Don*t let your tongue cut off your head.
The tongue can speak a word with speed
Say the Chinese outstretched a steed.
While Arab sages this impart
The tongue*s great storehouse is the heart.
From Hebrew wit the maxim sprung
Though feet should slip, ne*er let the tongue.
The sacred writer crowns the whole
Who keeps the tongue doth keep his soul.

Unknown:

If your lips would keep from slips,
Five things to observe with care
To whom you speak
Of whom you speak
And how
And when
And where

Unknown:

Thou are the master of the unspoken word
But the spoken word is the master of you.

Unknown:

A careless word may kindle strife.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill.
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way.
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen the stress.
A loving word may heal and bless.

Care to discuss Watch Your Mouth with Ron?

He'd also like to hear your prayer requests