“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3 ESV)
Sarcasm is my second language. Whether I am at work, in church, or simply at home with my family, many times I respond with sarcasm.
And sometimes it’s not the most appropriate way to respond.
With that said, I am baffled at the amount of Christians who don’t “guard [their] mouth[s].” From left to right, Christians continue to spout off the first thing that comes to their mind, whether it be on social media or in physical conversations.
We need to get back to being a people that are “slow to speak” (James 1:19). Oftentimes, the most godly thing you can do is not say a word.
Preserving Your Life
The verse begins with the positive side, stating that if you guard your mouth then you will preserve your life. What does that mean, exactly?
Preserving one’s life isn’t necessarily talking about dying. Although, I’m sure there are situations you could be in that if you run your mouth too much, somebody might want to genuinely kill you.
If you guard your mouth then you will have a good reputation. People will enjoy being around you; your community will think fondly of you no matter your beliefs. Fellow Christians on social media will take pleasure in interacting with you.
Friends, guarding our mouths matter. Sometimes, the most godly thing you can do is keep your mouth closed. That’s not pacifism; that’s not compromise; that’s not cowardice. That’s godly wisdom on display. Know when to speak up, and know when to stay quiet.
Comes to Ruin
If you don’t guard your mouth–if all you do is run your mouth and have no concern for the things you say–then you’re reputation will precede you. To be sure, you’ll have a reputation, it will simply be an awful one.
A Christian is not supposed to have an awful reputation.
Unfortunately, many Christians make a pattern out of opening their mouths too much. It reveals a problem–a problem of maturity. Some Christians think it necessary to respond to every controversy, or even worse, to create them. Do we not remember that what we speak reveals the state of our heart (Matthew 12:34) and that we will give an account for every careless word (Matthew 12:36)?
Practically speaking, Christian, remind yourself of the above verses when you feel the need to call somebody a cultural Marxist, for example. In contrast, stop calling people racist or apathetic to racism if they don’t believe in systemic racism. Remember Proverbs 13:3 when gossiping about other people to make yourself feel and look better.
If you don’t, your wide-open lips will cause your ruin.
What is the best thing to do about this? Yes, we should watch our mouths; we should be slow to speak and slow to be sarcastic or rude. But above all, we must be imitators of Christ. If the Holy Spirit is guiding us–and we yield to His leading–then we will be like Jesus in our lives.
In turn, we will know when to speak up and when to stay quiet. Guard your mouths.