When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.Proverbs 10:19-20
There’s quite a bit in today’s proverb collection about the use of the mouth. In fact, I believe we’ll find that subject comes up often throughout the book of proverbs.
Why? I think it’s because our speech so clearly reflects what’s truly in our hearts. Our mouths don’t cause us to sin; they reveal the sin that is already in us.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.Luke 6:45
But don’t fret! That is actually a very good thing. Think about it. If the use of my tongue reveals sin in my heart, it’s a gift! It’s out in the open now, so here’s my chance to acknowledge and confess the sin and repent.
So when I bark out harsh or angry words to my teenagers, it becomes my chance to confess the sinful anger I’ve harbored and repent – both to God and to the unfortunate teen who caught the sharp side of my tongue.
I can attest to the fact that this works. Trust me. I’ve spoken more than my share of harsh and angry words in my day.
But the good news is, over the years of habitually using my spoken works as a spotlight to reveal dark areas of my heart, those harsh and angry words don’t come as readily to the lips. In truth, there’s less anger in my heart to spawn them – thanks be to God!
So there’s my challenge to you today. When your words reveal some ugliness in your heart, go ahead and make it into a confession. And apologize sincerely, both to the person (even if they didn’t hear you mutter!) and to God. Then you can borrow the prayer I’ve borrowed from David:
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!Psalms 141:3