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When reading through Proverbs one can’t help but perceive a handful of predominant and recurring themes. One of the most persistent sets of exhortations relates to our chronic tendency to say too much. Over one hundred seventy inspired proverbs seek to impress on our hearts that fools are “babblers” and the wicked are “rash” with their words, but the wise “restrain their tongues”. We are warned in dozens of ways that “When words are many, transgression is not lacking.”


Sounds easy – say less and you’ll sin less – but it’s not. It may be simple, but it’s certainly not effortless. The words of a gossip, for instance, are said to be “delicious morsels.” We love to hear them, and in turn we find an evil pleasure in feeding them to the ears of our friends. But as with food, our gluttonous hearts must learn to show restraint. It is easy to dispense our critical, cutting or belittling commentary in just about any situation, but the wisdom of Proverbs tells us, “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”


So whether it’s the exaggeration of self-promotion, the belittling of gossip, or the expedience of betraying a confidence, let us all take to heart the wisdom of God which promises that “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life” but the one “who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

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