“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23
I’ve been reading in Proverbs this month and have been amazed anew at how many verses in this book of wisdom deal with our words.
We can use our tongues in a right way or a wrong way. After studying these verses, I thought of three characteristics of a good tongue.
- A wholesome tongue. Proverbs 15:4 says, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life…” We should make sure our tongue speaks in a way that is morally clean. Sometimes popular phrases or culturally-acceptable words tend to creep into our vocabulary almost without our noticing. Occasionally, they’re expressions that aren’t necessarily wholesome. Proverbs 10:32 says, “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable…” That’s exactly what we want to speak – words that are acceptable in God’s sight.
- A controlled tongue. This goes well with the verse at the beginning of the post. How much trouble could we avoid if we simply exercised self-control in what we say? (I’m preaching to the choir here! 🙂 Proverbs 13:3, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” One way to have a controlled tongue is to speak less in general. Proverbs 10:19, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” If we talk too much, we’re bound to slip and say something we shouldn’t – be it gossip, unwholesome words, secrets that others have asked us to keep, etc. In addition, if we want to be thought wise, we should speak less. Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
- An encouraging tongue. Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” How often has someone said just the words you needed to hear to brighten your day! Proverbs 12:25, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.” We can certainly strive to be one who gives that “good word” to another! Proverbs 15:23b, “…a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”
This is certainly a challenge for me! May I find myself putting these verses into practice that my tongue might be used in a good way!