Mark Beaird | Books

This Mouth of Mine

Have you ever felt that some days your mouth was operating independent of your brain? Of course we could all recount instances when we seemed to have placed our "mouth in motion before we put our brain in gear." In fact I was reminded of the universality of this experience the other day when talking to my nine-year-old daughter.

She was relating an experience with me that she had with another child. It seems that she was not fond of their other child because previous conversations and encounters had left her with some negative feeling concerning this particular child.

However, she told me that this time the other child had paid her a compliment.

"Well," I asked, "did you say something nice in return?"

"No." she bluntly replied. "I did not say anything."

"Why not?" I persisted.

"Because I was afraid that what would come out of my mouth would not be nice." She quickly explained her reasoning before I could question her further with the statement, "I just never know what is going to come out of this mouth of mine."

Well, there we have it- an honest statement with which many of us can identify.

Unfortunately - although they know the dangers - many go ahead and open their mouths anyway. It is that mouth of theirs that gets them into trouble every time and yet they continue to let it run loose leaving destruction in its wake.

In the New Testament book of James, the writer makes several observations about the problem human beings face in controlling their tongue. He writes, "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brother, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear dives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." James 3:7-12 NIV

We could continue to discuss the damage an unruly tongue (mouth) can do, but James is really drawing attention to the root of the problem - not just the result of the problem. It would seem that the problem of an unruly mouth could be traced back to the condition of the human heart.

His contention is not that we are hopelessly bound to an unruly tongue, but that of our need to seek God's intervention for help in controlling it. The inconsistency of our words can only be corrected by the influence of His work in our heart. If the content of heart is good, the resulting outflow from our mouths will show it.

Ultimately, if we are concerned that our mouth may be running amok, we really have two choices. We can either keep it closed or we can pray that God will help us to control it through a right heart.

www.markbeaird.org      A Westminster Edition website by Donnie Fischer.