Solomon and other writers of the Proverbs often addressed the use of the tongue, lips and mouth. The Proverbs are inspired common sense statements that can be drawn from the experiences. We know the Proverbs are inspired of God because Solomon asked God for wisdom and God granted him that wisdom (1 Kgs. 4:29-34). We would do well to read and study the Proverbs throughout our lives to know what God would consider wise

The proverbial sayings about the use of the tongue, lips and mouth are truly important when we consider what Jesus taught. He said: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12:34-37).

The following proverb is an excellent guide: "The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord" (16:1). To see how important the misuse of the tongue is please notice that three of the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord involve the tongue: "a lying tongue...a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren" (Prov. 6:16-19).

Our goal should be to use our lips, tongue and mouth wisely and righteously (Prov. 10:20,19,31).

How can we accomplish this goal? Put a deceitful mouth away (Prov. 4:24; 10:19); be truthful (8:7; 12:19); have a wholesome tongue (15:4); guard your mouth and tongue (13:3; 21:23); study how to answer (15:23,28; 16:23); and hold your peace (17:28). James wrote that we are a perfect man if we do not stumble in word (3:2; 1-10).

What are some ways we can use our tongue for evil? We can use it for lying (Prov. 6:17b; Rev. 21:8); for being a false witness (Prov. 6:19a; Matt. 26:60); for being a tale-bearer (Prov. 20: 19; 2 Thes. 3:11; 1 Tim. 5:13); for backbiting (Prov. 25:23; Rom. 1:30); For perverse use of filthiness (Prov. 4:24; 6:12; 17:20; Eph. 5:4); and for evil speaking (Eph. 4:31).

What are some ways we can use our tongue for good? We can use our tongue to promote health (Prov. 12:18; 15:4; 18:21); bring forth wisdom (10:31; for joy (15:23); plead the cause for the poor and needy (31:8,9); for kindness (31:26); and to turn away wrath (15:1). "He who loves purity of heart adn has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend!" (22:11). Paul wrote: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Eph. 4:29)!

By Ron Drumm.

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