Bill Cosby is credited for the line, “I opened my mouth and my MOTHER came out!” It is true that we can find ourselves sounding like our parents when we speak out at times. But when we open our mouth much more can come out than the things our mother used to say. Many people are ‘hung by the tongue’ when they say things they regret and have to put right. Many a couple or family members have been hurt by things one or both have said.
Keeping your big mouth shut can be the wisest thing to do – just about any time. Solomon gives us several healthy directives about managing our mouth. He says that saying less (keeping your mouth shut) is a good policy. If you are a fool, you can hide the fact, just by keeping your big mouth shut.
“In the multitude of words there is no lack of sin: but he that refrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19
“The heart of the righteous studies to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28
“He that hath knowledge spares his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” Proverbs 17:27
“Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:28
I recently sat in a meeting where a fool turned up. The person was well meaning and tried to be friendly and pleasant. But they did not know what they were talking about. They could not tune in to the issues being discussed or the depth of feelings some people present were grappling with. So, they just opened their mouth and talked about their own favourite subjects.
By the way, everyone’s favourite subject is themselves. Their next favourite subjects are their opinions and the way that seems right to them.
I watched as various people present responded graciously to this foolish mouth. They also shut down the conversation until the fool was gone and they could once again speak among people of understanding.
What made this exchange poignant for me was that I saw myself in the loud-mouth. That’s just the way I behaved through much of my youth. I was opinionated, ignorant, lacking perception, keen to make an impression, insecure and foolish. It took me years to learn to listen, and to learn to let someone else give the answer I could have given.
So, take it from me, and from Solomon. He has more authority to speak on this subject than I have, considering where I have come from and where I still have to go. But, take it from both of us anyway. “Keep Your Big Mouth Shut!”