Do you know anyone who talks too much? Of course you do. I bet a name or two popped to mind immediately. Here’s something to consider: Would your name pop into someone else’s mind in answer to that question? Could you be accused of running off at the mouth a little too often? Sometimes your best use of language happens when you say nothing at all. There’s immense wisdom in keeping quiet at the right times. After all, God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. We’re probably safe to assume that he wants us to listen twice as much as we speak.
Learning to hold your tongue requires a degree of humility; it takes a realization that your opinion may not be the best or most important one in the room. Often it means letting go of your need to be right. As King Solomon wrote,
“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Prov. 12:15
Sometimes we are so busy explaining, proving and justifying ourselves and our opinions that we forget to listen. As a result, we miss out on the insight of others – insight that may be extremely beneficial to us. Solomon continued,
“The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.” Prov. 12:23
Consider these two verses taken together: Wise people listen to others and don’t flaunt the knowledge they have, while fools think they are right and broadcast their foolishness to everyone around them. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be found among the wise.
“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.” Winston Churchill
Learning to hold your tongue when everything in you wants to speak takes practice, not to mention maturity. But again, awareness is key. Start paying attention to your own mouth. Try to be more cognizant of when you should stop talking. Don’t let your tongue be your master; choose to master it instead.
On the opposite side of the battle, there are three major categories of words that can sabotage us. These words are actually like small, daily doses of poison – over time they result in death.
The above was taken as an excerpt from Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live by Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson. For more information on how you can use your words to build a better life, visit tonguepierced.com.
Nelson Searcy is the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church and the author of more than 80 church leadership resources, including 14 best-selling books. He currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with his family. Jennifer Dykes Henson is a writer based in New York City. Before finding success with Tongue Pierced, Jennifer worked with Dr. Charles Stanley for In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.