Thursday, September 22, 2022

Watch Your Mouth! (Proverbs 4:24)


Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. [Proverbs 4:24]

This verse is one that I have been trying to apply to my life. I have been making an effort to change the way I speak, so that I keep the Lord’s commandments, but I do not always succeed. I have always loved to talk (this may contribute to my desire to write as much as I do), and the more I speak, the more opportunities I have to speak about something that I should not be speaking about, and the more opportunities I have to say something that I should not be saying. I have never been a “bad kid”, but I do remember being scolded many, many times for saying something rude or inappropriate. Many of those scoldings were about me saying something that I really did not intend to be offensive.

This issue of mine is made worse by my honesty. I have numerous issues with my character, but I have always been honest. However, there are some things that are not helpful to say, and there are things that are important to say, but they must be said in a certain way. I still struggle to “sugar-coat” things, and I still struggle with keeping my mouth shut, but as I have sought the Lord, He has helped me control my tongue. I am far better at controlling what I say than I was before, but I am still working on myself. Pray for me.

This verse tells us exactly what we should do:

Put away from you crooked speech

What does “crooked” mean? In this context, crooked speech refers to speech that is hateful, prideful, angry, evil, antagonistic, unnecessarily offensive, crude, or otherwise sinful. I included the word “unnecessarily” when describing the type of offensive speech that we should put away from ourselves. There are many things that we have an obligation to say to others, and many of those things can be offensive. I do not think that it is sinful to offend others, especially considering how people are offended by different things, and what is acceptable to 99% of people will be unacceptable to the remaining 1%. That being said, there are offensive things we can say that are unnecessary. We should avoid unnecessarily offensive speech.

One’s mouth speaks what is in his heart. When our hearts are filled with love and compassion, our speech will be filled with love and compassion. When we are filled with hate, our speech will be filled with hate. We must put off the aforementioned forms of speech, so that we can honor the Lord in what we speak.

and put devious talk far from you

This part of the verse is restating the first part. Separate yourselves from evil speech, and guard your hearts. The heart will determine what is spoken.

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