Jun 7 (Daily reading: Proverbs 13-15) Many of the proverbs concern the use of the tongue. From today’s reading: “One who guards his mouth protects his life; one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (13:3). “A truthful witness saves lives, but one who declares lies is deceitful” (14:25). “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger … The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (15:1, 4, NIV). Our speech should be truthful, gentle, and healing.
The paragraph below is from my book. There are reciprocal principles that concern our speech: “Do not speak against one another” (Ja. 4:11); “Do not complain against one another” (Ja. 5:9); “Do not lie to one another” (Col. 3:9).
“I do not know who to credit for this quote, but I have heard it often: ‘Always remember to put brain into gear before engaging mouth.’ I have heard my mother say, ‘If you do not have anything good to say, say nothing at all!’ Solomon wrote, ‘He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles’ (Prov. 21:23). It should make us fearful to speak against someone whom God has created; do we really want to assume God’s role as judge? A person may not intentionally speak against someone, but by speaking carelessly, do much harm. We have all heard a comparison between words and bullets: once they leave the mouth or the gun, there is no controlling the results.
Speaking against one another can include speaking harshly rather than gently, mocking someone because of their error or appearance, passing on stories that do harm rather than build up, and accusing someone falsely. Doing these things is using the tongue to audibly express the judgment that has already taken place in the heart.” (“We Love Because God First Loved Us,” pages 137-138).
– Al Gary