If you are anything like me, you probably heard these same words come from your mother's lips: "Watch your mouth, young man." I heard those words from my mother more than I care to confess. She also often followed that stanza with, "If you don't have something good to say, say nothing." Isn't it remarkable that, as we get older, we discover our mothers were right after all?
And no matter how old we are, our mouths still seem to fall in the same trap, and it never does anyone any good.
Scripture has a great deal to say about our tongue and what it can do. Proverbs 13:3 tells us watching our mouth will guard our lives: "He who guards his lips, guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 21:23 says, "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."
Our tongue is a small part of our body but, just as a rudder is a small part on a ship it can turn the vessel into and out of danger.
As Christians we should always watch what we say, but sometimes, emotions cause our inner feelings to come rushing out. We try but the filter between our brain and mouth doesn't stop everything it should. We find ourselves having to apologize for things we said. Apologies might be accepted but we know what we said can never be taken back and the damage done may take a long time to repair.
Our words can be a strong way of following the law of sowing and reaping. We can share words of encouragement, and inspire others to feel good. In coaching, I use a term called strokes: Providing people words that lift them and make them feel good about themselves. It can be as simple as giving a morning greeting, or commenting on someone's nice new hair cut. Everyone likes strokes, and anytime we lift someone we are sowing good seeds.
So what is the answer to help us watch our mouth? Luke 16:45 gives us some great points when it says, "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."
Be in continual prayer that God would change our hearts. The top two Commandments given to us are to love God and love one another as we love ourselves. If they weren't so important, they wouldn't be at the top of the list. Keeping those Commandments will go a long way toward changing our hearts.