In John Bunyon’s classic book, “The Pilgrim’s Progess”, Christian and Faithful come upon a man by the name of Talkative…..a man who’s father was Saywell and who lived on Gabby Row. At first Faithful is impressed with Talkative and his outward appearance. But Christian sets Faithful straight as to Talkative’s true nature. He tells him, “…for he’s at his best away from home. Near home he’s ugly enough.” Christian goes on to describe Talkative in this light: “Everything that he has lies in his tongue, and making a noise with it is his religion.” Ouch!
In Matthew’s Gospel in chapter 7 we read of Christ’s words of warning that by a man’s words he shall be condemned or acquitted. And later in chapter 12:34 He declares that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Literally, therefore, the mouth is the overflow valve of the human heart and what lies therein.
Paul had written to Timothy that he was to be an example to believers …….and the first thing he mentions is, “his speech”. That is followed by his conduct, his love, his faith, and his purity. Yet of the five areas he encourages Timothy to practice…….the first mentioned is his speech.
We sometimes may think of the cute little children’s hymn that encourages “our little mouths as to what we say”. “For the Father up above is looking down in love……so be careful little mouth what you say.”
The Book of Proverbs is loaded with pictures of the ability of the tongue to bless and encourage, but also how our mouths can be a terrible tool of causing much sadness and remorse.
I heard this poem recited by Pastor Allistaire Begg this week.
If all that we say in a single day, with never a word left out
Were printed each night in clear black and white
It’s make a strange reading no doubt.
And then just suppose before our eyes close
We had to read the whole record through.
Then wouldn’t we sigh and when we try
A great deal less talking to do
And I more than half think, that many a kink
Would be smoother in life’s tangled thread
If half of what I say in a single day
Were to be left forever unsaid.
The Psalmist said to set a watch before my mouth…….uuhhh…what a prayer and sobering thought for us today!