“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Proverbs 29:11). It seems like the book of Proverbs (often called the book of wisdom) has a great deal to say about controlling the tongue. Words are funny things, they can either be used for great good, or to tear a person apart. Some people love to talk … others are happy to be silent and unnoticed. Either way, the warning here in Proverbs is for all of us. All of us need to keep our thoughts to ourselves at points.
It is not always wisdom to say everything that crosses your mind. I have heard some people say, “Well, I’m just so honest that if I think it … I say it.” That might be honest, but according to the Word of God, it’s not smart! Today I want to encourage you to consider what you are saying and make good use of the words you have. In my Bible, next to this verse, I have written, “Lord, help me control my tongue.” We all need this.
I was born into a family that loves to tell stories. I can vividly remember sitting around our kitchen table with three of the four of our family all trying to tell a story at the same time (my dad is the quiet one). Often one of us would say, “You interrupted me in the middle of my story … I’m not finished yet!” Because of this, I have been prone to talk too much on many occasions. I have asked the Lord to help me in this area of my life. I don’t want to violate the principle of this verse.
Some of my humble thoughts on the words of wisdom from this verse are as follows: (1) When you don’t have enough information about a subject being discussed, be quiet and learn (maybe the next time you will have something to offer); (2) When others far wiser than you are talking about something you are interested in, listen closely and glean from their wisdom; (3) Usually the wisest person in the group is the one who has learned to hold their words until the appropriate time (they are usually not the ones doing the most talking); (4) Others will most likely be impressed with a few words of wisdom rather than a whole boat-load of nonsense. Voltaire said, “The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” This verse today is so practical. Do your best to think before speaking. To make sure that you have run the words you are about to speak around in your mind before letting them out the door of your mouth. Ask God to help you to control your tongue today, for His glory and His good.