- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:23
"He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles"
One of the quickest and surest ways to get in trouble is to say things you shouldn't say. We live in a culture that seems to believe that if you think or feel something, it has to be said. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to wrestle our tongue until it is under control and it only moves at the impulse of wisdom. What is amazing is that our tongue helps manipulate air as it passes out of our mouth, and yet it can give our soul incredible blessings or incredible grief. The older that I get, the more I learn that my slips of the tongue and expressions of my feelings are not welcome nor wanted in most places.
This is the Hebrew word shamar, which means to keep, watch, preserve, guard. Clearly there is a choice being brought to the forefront. We have a choice every time we open our mouth to speak. In our day many people would deny that people have any choice over what they say – either philosophically or theologically. But this proverb is clear; God has given us the ability to choose to guard them. We must begin to practice the hard work of not speaking everything we think and/or feel. This is not a hollow promise asking that which they are in need of but cannot perform. We can set a guard over our tongues. We have the ability to say what we shouldn't say. If we are to begin to bring the whole of our lives under the discipline of Christ, then speaking is a huge part of what we do as Christian people. Therefore, what are you going to do to control your words? What was the last time that what you said got you in trouble? What was it that you said? Are most of your apologies for things that you say?
No matter how young or old we are, this advice is great advice. Don't tell more than you should. Don't keep talking just to get things off your chest.
The point of this proverb is that you can avoid a whole truckload of trouble if you will just keep your mouth closed when you are wanting to speak impulsively, emotionally, selfishly, vengefully.
One of the things that we do not discuss enough is the great blessing of missing trouble that is searching for a place to land. Many of us are out searching for blessing and the way to add positive to our lives. One of the best ways to bless yourself is to not curse yourself. Avoid trouble. Sometimes we need to realize that if we don't marry the wrong person, our life will be significantly better. If we don't give so and so a piece of our mind, we will not have burnt that bridge and can still develop a relationship with that person. If we do not brag or boast to someone, then they will continue to think that we are smarter than we really are. If we avoid speaking the impulsive things that we are feeling and wait until cooler heads are in control, we will have an easier time of it.
Find great blessing and smoothness in the path of life by avoiding cursing yourself. Think about all the negative decisions that you could have made and how different your life would have been. If you had wandered down the more evil path, you would not be where you are and you would be starting significantly handicapped. It is true that God in His infinite grace extends to those who are oppressed and afflicted, but one would rather have a tender heart toward God without starting below ground level.
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