“Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say…”


     Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

One of the very first scripture verses my mother had me memorize when I was a little boy was Proverbs 15:1.  I did not understand the significance of it at the time, nor did I give a moment’s thought to how valuable this simple principle from the Word of God would be even to this very day.  Growing up with six other siblings (four of them boys) it did not take me a long time to understand that though I might not be as strong as my older brother’s were, my words could cut much deeper and hurt far worse than any punch, slap, gouge, or kick ever could.  It was no different at school or even at church. No one likes a bully, and I determined that I would observe those who attacked  me or teased me, especially those who were stronger than myself to pinpoint their flaws, or whatever I saw as a weakness to exploit and therefore belittle them in retaliation for my “sufferings” if you will.  This practice would prove far more painful and destructive than any playground bruising ever could.  You see the Bible tells us in James 3:8 “but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

     We would all do well to remember that scratches and bruises will heal though they may leave a small outward scar, but words used in anger and frustration with the intent to do harm leave inward scars that take much longer to heal and sadly for some they never do. We all know someone or maybe we ourselves who have been on the receiving end of some horribly, harsh words. Maybe, someone caught us at the wrong time, on a bad day and said something to us that maybe wasn’t meant in a mean context but we took it that way and it hurt. I think it safe to say, most of us know fellow Christians who are no longer in church or have left a church because someone said something to them in a cross way. Now, I am not talking about those who have been offended at the preaching of God’s word and their conviction allowed them to “feel offended by the mean ol’ preacher”, though this preacher has had more than his share of open mouth, insert foot moment’s.  The point is we all can and should be careful and think before we speak. We do not know the heartache some carry and even if our day may not be going as planned, that does not mean that we have the right to ruin another’s. 

     Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: But the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.  As the song we learned in Sunday school many years ago says  “Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little Mouth What you say..”  Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  

     Let’s determine today to think before we speak and to practice the simple yet effective principle of replying kindly, no matter how our day or week may be going. A soft answer will turn away wrath and we do have the ability and the power to make or wreck someone else’s day. Let’s be a light and an encouragement to everyone around us and be careful what we say.