Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for fool than for him.
I’m a blabbering idiot. Seriously. I’m one of those people who can’t control their own words when they get excited about something. My wife thinks it’s funny when I start to tell her a story about my day. The point could be as simple as, “I ran into an old friend,” but before I’m done, the story’s ten minutes long at about 400 words per second with spit flying everywhere. It’s the worst when I’m tired. Sentences like, “Let’s rent a movie” come out, “Let’s ment a rovie,” or, “Let’s root a mentvie.” I can’t really explain it.
As funny as this problem may appear on surface issues such as old friends or movies, I have to really be careful when it comes to life in general. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m alone in this issue either. While you may not find it difficult to tell a story your excited about or to give a simple suggestion, no one has avoided the mistake of speaking before you think at least once in their lives. Proverbs 29:20 warns us against allowing “hasty words” to become a habit. It says that even a fool has more hope than this type of person.
I wonder how often this habit manifests itself as a part of your life? Have you ever said something to a friend or family member that cuts like a knife? Was it on purpose or did it slip out on accident? Did you know it was wrong before you even finished your sentence or did it take some time to sink in? While we may desperately try to justify our words or apologize with promises such as, “I didn’t mean it,” or, “It was a mistake,” the Bible makes it very clear that our “mistake” was a sin. A sin? That’s a hard cup of tea to swallow, isn’t it?
The Bible says that we will one day be judged for every unrighteous thing we do, even things we “didn’t mean to do.” Having a quick tongue will not be an excuse on the Day of Judgment either; in fact, it will most likely be a charge against us. The Bible has offered us many ways to defeat this sin. I find though, that not many of us have given it much thought. That’s a shame too; I believe God takes great concern in the way we speak to those around us.
James 1:21 instructs us that if we truly desire to be “slow to anger,” than we must first, be “quick to hear and slow to speak.” I find it no coincidence that the following verses speak of the importance in laying aside all filthiness and all remains of wickedness. When we allow ourselves to be surrounded and embraced by seemingly harmless sins, it will become much more difficult to control our tongue. Many times the sins that plague us the most in life are the ones that we don’t give enough attention to. I pray that you would be aware of the conversation you surround yourself with today. Know that it will be much more difficult to control your tongue if you allow yourself to be around others who can’t. Also, don’t forget that you will one day be judged for every ill-spoken word that comes out of your mouth. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus tells us that He takes personally the actions we take against others. We say that we can’t control our tongue, but I imagine we could if we were speaking directly to the Lord. I ask you, are we not?
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).