He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life; but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3).

We must not only avoid speaking evil, but prudently beware of speaking good when it would be unseasonable. A certain philosopher being silent in company, and asked the reason of it, answered, “I have often repented of speaking, but never of keeping silence.” Destruction from God, and sometimes from men, is the punishment of an ungoverned tongue, which in this respect resembles an untameable monster, that often destroys its owner. Nabal had almost ruined his whole family by his intemperate railing at David. The mischief was indeed prevented by the prudent tongue of Abigail, and yet the remorse of his own mind was one means of bringing him to his latter end.

Why does the wise man insist so much on this subject? Because the tongue is a most unruly member, and yet it is absolutely necessary to bridle it. Who is the man that desires ruin and misery? Let him give a loose rein to his tongue. Who is the man that desires peace and happiness? Let him say nothing that he will repent of having said, ten or a hundred years hence.

Extract of Exposition of the Book of Proverbs by George Lawson. All Rights Reserved.