“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3 (NIV)
I rehearsed the words, each one dripping with the edginess of a protective mama. My son had made a poor choice at school, and a meeting had been called. Running to his defense felt right. After all, I loved him. But was it wise?
Due to his large size throughout childhood, many folks assumed Joel was older and should show more maturity than his actions often displayed. He stuck out — always had. As a result, adults scowled and corrected him more than others his age. This seemed to be happening again.
The determined woman in me needed to explain this rationale. I felt certain it could impact the consequences. So I practiced. I mulled over the words, rearranging and reconstructing sentences in my brain. But no matter how hard I tried, nothing seemed right.
What little peace I felt evaporated like steam on the stovetop. It left behind, however, an unexpected prompting to remain silent.
Was the Lord really calling me to hold my tongue? Surely not. I was positive Joel needed to take responsibility. I wasn’t attempting to exonerate him. However, my insight might help the officials, my husband and me to navigate a better solution.
But God continued prompting my silence.
I wrestled. I wavered. I begged Him to let me have my way. But nothing changed. The only right next step was to set my will at His altar.
Through barely parted lips, I whispered, “Okay, Lord … I’ll be quiet.” I chose to obey — to guard my lips — instead of bolting ahead with the devices of my own desire.
Armed with zero arguments, I walked into the meeting and simply listened.
As the conversation progressed, God’s reasoning for my silence became clear. One of the administrators expressed the exact thoughts I had wrestled with earlier that week. His explanation, however, came with more credibility than my biased one, as a mother, ever could have. It also reinforced what an immense love God holds for my son, not to mention the care and concern school officials displayed.
We landed at a resolution benefiting everyone while still holding Joel accountable, which I called a “God-ordained” ending. Remaining quiet proved to be the right answer. As Proverbs 13:3 tells us, “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”
It’s easy to speak rash words fueled by strong emotions. But such reactions can often lead us — and others — to hurt-filled and unrighteous places. God provides a better way.
Wisdom prompts us to trust in the Lord and guard what we say — even when we’d rather spout our explanation or defense. Whether this means we remain silent or speak with love, our Father leads us well. Indeed, He does.
Heavenly Father, teach me to guard my lips well. Forgive me for the times that I haven’t. I trust You to know best whether I should remain silent or speak in the situations I encounter today, tomorrow and beyond. So, whether it’s with words or silence, I choose to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
What’s one conversation or situation you’re facing that you can pray over today? How is God leading you to respond?
Which Bible verses can you journal that might help you guard your lips? Share your response in the comments!
© 2020 by Kristi Woods. All rights reserved.