You know what I've been struggling with lately? Keeping my mouth shut. I always have a retort, an argument, a justification, a sardonic comment, a sarcastic remark or a flippant reply on the tip of my tongue and it is such a challenge to keep them in!
Here's a fairly innocuous example. Today I was in the checkout line at the grocery store. The man in front of me slid his card to pay and then started growling, sighing and exclaiming, "What is this? I HATE these things! He threw his hands in the air and started looking around the store yelling, "NO I DON'T WANT CASH BACK!" and "YES THAT AMOUNT IS CORRECT!" Once the man left, the checkout lady looked at me. Normally I would have quipped, "That guy was CRAZY!" But the Holy Spirit prompted me to keep my mouth shut. That pause allowed me to think - maybe he is having a bad day. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt.
The Bible has plenty to say about this topic. James 3 compares the tongue to a bit in a horse's mouth and the rudder of a ship. Like these examples, the tongue is small, but it controls the direction of the whole body. James also compares our words to a small spark, which is able to start a forest fire.
James 1:26 says,
"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."OUCH! This is definitely something I still need to work on.