Read Proverbs Chapter 13.
“The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the who who opens his lips invites his own ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
In my family, I am known as “Mouth of the South”. I have been accused of not being able to keep a secret. I am sure there is truth in this statement. I like to get things out in the open. As we learned yesterday, I learned at a young age nothing stays hidden long, so why waste time trying to hide it? But not everything needs to be said, not everything needs to be talked about.
I love what “guard” means in its original form: maintaining things entrusted to them, especially keeping the truths of God in both actions and mind. This is the filter God wants us to use. Is what we’re saying and doing in line with God’s truth? These are the questions we should ask before we speak. And if you don’t, you invite ruin into your life.
I gained the reputation of “Mouth of the South” because I loved to tell on my brothers. If they did something wrong, I couldn’t wait to spread the word. Until I realized the ruin it was bringing into my life, it ruined my relationship with my brothers. Would you want to be around someone who told all of your faults? After all, we all have them. I don’t want to be around someone who is going to tell mine, and they are plenty. I love my brothers, so much. They are amazing men, all of them. Why would I want anyone to think less of them? My words and actions affected how others thought of them.
Gratefully, we grow up. God doesn’t let us stay where we are. What really changed my life was Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians when he told them to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11). As I studied this verse and began to apply it to my life, all of my relationships began to improve. It has become an easy filter to use. I simply ask myself, does this build up or tear down? If it builds up, I say it. If it tears down, I don’t. I’d love to say I’ve mastered this, but that would be a lie. I can say, I’ve come a long way from where I used to be in the department of keeping my mouth shut.
Are you ruining a relationship with your life because you’re tearing down instead of building up? Especially with those closest to us, they are the ones who usually reap the benefits of our words, whether positive or negative. Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church, says it like this, “I want to be respected most by those who know me best.” That is a hard goal to achieve if your mouth is causing ruin. But if if you determine to build up instead of tear down, you’ll find those who know you best respect you most.