When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
"Remember, keep your mouth shut," my mother reminded me as I walked out the door to go to school. I nodded. After having my jaw wired shut for six weeks, I needed to consciously think to shut my mouth. My jaw had relied on the wires to do its work for so long that it no longer did it automatically. Since I was fourteen years old at the time, I was very embarrassed by the situation!
I had broken my jaw riding my new bicycle down the street. I hit some gravel, skidded, and flew over the handlebars, landing on the street, squarely on my chin. There were hairline fractures on both sides of my jaw. The treatment was to wire the jaw shut for six weeks so the bones could heal in a stationary position. After sipping all my meals through a straw for six weeks, I was excited to get the wires cut off. But I didn't realize that my jaw no longer remembered to keep my mouth shut. Now I needed to "retrain" my jaw to do its job.
Remembering to keep your mouth shut is also good spiritual advice, as Solomon reminds us in this Proverb. Gossip, slander and lies are spread through "many words." How often have I spoken when I should have kept my mouth shut? Maybe I need to retrain my mouth not to speak whatever comes to my mind. I need to remember "he who holds his tongue is wise."
Dear Lord, Help me to guard my tongue. Help me to avoid saying things that need not be said. Help me to be wise and hold my tongue.