The wise lay up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near. Proverbs 10:14
All of us say things now and then that we regret. It’s part of being human. One of the easiest places to prove that point is in the world of celebrities (and with the rise of reality television, near-celebrities). Because of their fame, they’re answering questions all of the time. And for some of them, that’s a big problem. Take, for example, these foolish statements. Try matching each quote with the person who made it:
1. “I get to go to overseas places, like Canada.”
2. “What’s Wal-Mart. Do they sell, like, wall stuff?”
3. “Nothing changes like changes, because nothing changes but the changes.”
4. “After I die, I’ll probably come back as a paintbrush.”
5. “I’m not going for the Sixteenth Chapel.”
6. “Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”
a. Sylvester Stallone
b. Justin Bieber
c. Britney Spears
d. Brooke Shields
e. Gary Busey
f. Paris Hilton
Answers are at the bottom.
What each of these celebs has in common is that they “put their foot in their mouth.” That’s a strange saying, and it didn’t originate from someone actually trying to eat their toes. There was an Irish politician many years ago named Sir Boyle Roche who was famous for saying foolish things (such as, “Half the lies our opponents tell about me are not true” – meaning, the other half are true?). One of those opponents said of Roche, “Every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it.”
Yes, even I have put my foot in my mouth, as hard as that is to believe. Once I told a woman how nice it was to meet her daughter – only to find out that the lady with her was her best friend, and they were the same age!
It’s hard to watch our tongues and guard what we say, but the Bible says that’s one of the true marks of wisdom. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives quick vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Another one I love is Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
Too often, we want everyone to know what we think about things. No conversation is complete until we’ve added our two cents. In this day of social media, that’s especially true. We talk and text and tweet and post on Facebook and Instagram and let everyone know exactly what we’re doing and what we’re thinking. And most often, that means we say too much. Wouldn’t it be better to remain a little more silent and be credited with a little more wisdom?
During the next few days, try adding a little silence to your routine. Listen more and say less. Really think about what you want to say, and wait for a good opportunity to say it. If that means that you say less, that’s OK. Your goal is to say better things – not more. Pray that the Lord will help you hold your tongue, and to give you wisdom about when to speak.
Answers: 1-c; 2-f; 3-e; 4-a; 5-b; 6-d
Reflection copyright © 2015 Doug DeBolt
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.