“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (10:19)
I counted 11 uses of the words lips or mouth in chapter ten, with a few additional phrases like babbling fool. I sensed a theme.
Now in my thirties, I’ve only begun to apply the wisdom of thinking before I speak. These verses, and others like it, haunted me throughout my early life, because I could never quite reign in my quick tongue or impulsive need to announce every last thing.
I believe it’s another great example of how our strengths often double as our weakness. Being quick witted has gotten me places, but being a babbling fool has resulted in people not being able to take me seriously (maybe for the best, who really needs to be taken seriously anyway?).
Something we don’t like bringing up is that ugly slander word.
“He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.” (10:18)
Gossip is a major cultural component and we have justified it in many ways. I think part of the problem, is that we create expectations of perfection from each other and then load up the shame when it inevitably doesn’t work out. I think if we start with the baseline idea: we’re all going to screw up, having a propensity for imperfection, then we can focus our discussions on victories, moments of kindness and generosity instead.
We’re only making fools of ourselves when we slander others.
I will continue working on theses things, always bringing it to the LORD, and depending on His Spirit for the deepest transformations. He is the one who is able to use my crazy mouth as a force of good.