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Proverbial Hump Day: Proverbs 13:3
The benefits of guarding one's mouth
One beautiful thing about many of the proverbs is the poetic manner in which words of wisdom are distributed. Proverbs 13:3 showcases this poetic perfection wonderfully.
He who guards his mouth protects his life, but the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.
What does it mean to guard your mouth?
How to Guard Your Mouth
The Apostle James refers to taming the tongue. Indeed! The tongue is like a dragon—tame it or die trying!
The language James uses is “fire” and “world of wickedness.” The tongue is a terrible thing if left out of control. Yet, it can be a great blessing to many if used diligently under a masterful guide.
And this is what guarding your mouth is all about. While “taming” is a more active verb that pertains to getting it under control and mastering the tongue rather than letting the tongue master you, guarding the mouth is more of a defensive posture. It insinuates that the mouth must be protected as much as it needs to be respected.
Isn’t that the case?
In both taming and guarding, the idea is to exercise self-control in the deployment of a useful tool. That tool is speech, represented by “tongue” and “mouth” as metaphors.
Letting the Tongue Run Free Leads to Ruin
By contrast, the proverb warns …
the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.
Have you ever met someone who constantly ran his or her mouth, and almost everything they said was bitter, vituperative, full of gossip, or just plain poisonous? Such people often find themselves at the end of their lives desperate and alone. They poison the atmosphere everywhere they walk. And just by talking. Who wants to be with them?
It isn’t so much the fact that they talk a lot is the problem. Rather, it’s the things they talk about and the manner in which they talk about them.
Such people, if they’d only bridle the tongue, they might live a life of happiness. Sorrowfully, they are destined for bitterness.
How’s your speech? Do you salt your conversations with pleasantness or poison them with bitter tongue maneuvers?
Allen Taylor is the author of I Am Not the King.