To Guard Your Lips is to Guard Your Life

Psalms 12:4 states the boast of men who have become greatly deceived about the ownership of their lips and words, listen as they say; “Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” KJV

It is apparent that these deluded ones have also forgotten the wisdom of Proverbs 13:3 when it announces “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

All about us, in this abrasive world, we hear the chant of many who are saying—by their very attitude and actions “our lips are our own—who is Lord over us?” It is these kind of people who become the very anti-personality of Proverbs 15:3; “He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor  nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.”

James might have had “Camel knees” but he also had a “Lion’s tongue” as he exclaimed, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” (James 4:11).

To purposely speak evil of others has to proceed from a spirit of malice, which desires that their intended target should be lowered in the sight of others. Also when they say that no harm was intended is the height of hypocrisy. “As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Proverbs 26:18-19). Or in other words, it is like an insane man firing off an automatic weapon into a crowded room and then saying, “I was just joking.” Mad indeed!

It is truly enlightening to note how often the Scriptures address this subject of our tongues and lips (is it then any wonder that the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost entering our lives is expressed on our lips?). The Book of Proverbs alone contains many beneficial instructions for the right use of our tongues. In the New Testament, exhortations are frequently given against the wrong use of our tongues. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:31). “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).

Is all speaking against another wrong? No, there are times when it is one’s duty to caution others against those who might prove a harm to them. If one should be summoned as a witness in court, then they are bound to tell the truth. Where the Gospel and Truth is at stake, or where there is danger of someone being unrightfully wronged, to speak out in defense is both correct and just. First, however, one must be certain to fully verify what they have heard, and to make sure that what they relate is true and to do it in a right spirit—not with pleasure—but with godly sorrow.

How difficult it is for one to be truly impartial, and in those occasions which requires one to mention another’s faults, to be careful not to hide his good points. Think twice – speak once.

May we pray that if ever we must be spoken against that it be done by a righteous man!


— jlg —

Leave a Reply