Keeping our mouths CLOSED - Part II.

Many years ago I attached a bright yellow Post-it note to my computer which read:
She does not need to speak just because she has a mouth!

And this verse was the catalyst for the attachment of said note.
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36

I could probably end this post right here. For what more needs to be said? Scripture is crystal clear on this issue.
Control your tongue.
Do not gossip.
Do not meddle in the business of others.
Do not slander.
Do not make a judgment until you have all of the facts.
Think before speaking.
Do not use foul or inappropriate language.
There is a time to be silent.

And yet ...
Do we obey?
And do we uphold the same standard for ourselves that we demand of others?
How often are we upset when others gossip about us, make assumptions about us without knowing the whole truth and offend us with rude words - all while we are gossiping, making assumptions, and saying rude things about someone else?
How often do we speak/respond without first spending one moment in thought or prayer?
How often do we ask questions about other people that are absolutely none of our business?
How often do we speak because we want to give our opinion, make a statement, or get attention, instead of being still and silent?

James sure had it right when he said, Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:5-8

As if this detailed and horrifying description of the tongue was not enough to convict us never to speak again, it is not the only counsel the Lord gives on this matter.

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 29:20

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13

When words are many, sin is not absent, but whoever restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Proverbs 13:3

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4

... a time to keep silent, and a time to speak; Ecclesiastes 3:7

Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17:27-28

Oh, Lord! How much You have had to teach me about my mouth in 46 years of life, and how often You have had to discipline me for using it poorly. And, I fear, because James says that "no human being can tame the tongue," Your lessons have not come to an end and I will suffer more humiliation to bring about humility in the years to come. But Lord, the lessons can be fewer and far between, can they not? You promise to give wisdom to those who ask, without reproach, so I am asking with sincerity, please give me wisdom and discernment to know when to speak, how to speak, with whom to speak ... and when to be silent. I do not need to speak just because I have a mouth, or an opinion, or a thought. I only need to speak when You tell me do so. Please, Lord, make me a woman who thinks and prays much more than she speaks so that when words pour out of my mouth, they are not only worth hearing, but a blessing and encouragement to those who hear them. I give you my mouth, Lord. Please, take it and seal it until You want me to speak. Amen.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Then my tongue shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your praise all the day long. Psalm 35:28