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January 10

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

The power of the tongue seems to be a common theme in Proverbs. Probably the most forthright and pointed reference to the tongue in the New Testament is found in James 3. Just a few picked and chosen from 3:1-12. “But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire…it is set on fire by hell itself.  People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison…” If you have access to a Bible, I’d like to encourage you to read James 3:1-12 in its entirety.

Proverbs 10 is full of verses dealing with the tongue. Please get your Bible and read verses 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 31, and 32. I highlighted verse 19 this morning: “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” (NLT)

This hits home. I’m a talker. I’m very social (they call us “extroverts”). And I am. Jo just shakes her head sometimes when I strike up a conversation with a clerk or a total stranger in the store. I love children, especially those as gregarious as me, and Jo has to remind me to be careful who I talk to. Some parents are leery of adults who talk to their children. At the ball fields this past summer, kids I read to in school would come to me and say, “Mr. Bill!” and then want to give me a hug.  (I did group hugs when I was done reading). Some parents stared at me and I had to introduce and explain who I was and how I knew their child. And yes, sometimes I talk too much. Someone said about me that “He assumes a familiarity that is not there.” Guilty as charged.

And sometimes, more so in the past when I was younger and less cautious and disciplined, I said too much. It got me in trouble. You know the old adage, “Open mouth insert foot?” That was written about me. I’ve swallowed a lot of socks in my day. I didn’t always heed Proverbs 10:19 nor did I listen and learn very well from James 3.

Those words on the pages of the Bible are there for a reason. Learn from them. Take it from a recovering talker. Be wise. Keep your mouth shut. You can’t ever regret something you don’t say.