The phrase “I have a diplomacy deficit!” was conceived in 2007 as my diplomatic description of my not so secret struggle with “foot and mouth” disease! “Open mouth, insert foot!”
I am seldom guilty of saying too little, and much more prone to say too much. So I have a diplomacy deficit! How about you? I found a search of the Bible on this subject to be fascinating as to its commentary on speech.
I thought it might be powerful to let the words of the Bible text itself unveil God’s instructions on our speech. May it speak to you by the Holy Spirit as you read it. (All Scripture is in the New King James Version.)
Job 155 For your iniquity teaches your mouth, And you choose the tongue of the crafty. 327 I said, ‘Age should speak, And multitude of years should teach wisdom.’ 3435 ‘Job speaks without knowledge, His words are without wisdom.’
Psalm 122 They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; With flattering lips and a double heart they speak. 3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, And the tongue that speaks proud things, 3730 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. 391 I said, “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me.” 493 My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.
Proverbs 1019 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. 1218 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. 152 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 1523 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! 161 The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 1621 The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. 1728 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. 239 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words. 2511 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. 2515 By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, And a gentle tongue breaks a bone. 3126 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Ecclesiastes 917 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. 1012 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; 1211 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.
Isaiah 504 “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.
John 663 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Acts 610 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
1 Corinthians 24 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 26 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 27 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 213 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Ephesians 425 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
Colossians 46 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
1 Peter 21 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
James 119 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 32 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Reflect: What are some ways that we can avoid “foot and mouth disease”? We can “hide” His word in our heart. We can examine our motives for responding or reacting using our speech. We can ask forgiveness when we do fail in this area. We can ask a friend to make us accountable for what comes out of our mouth. We can pray for God’s help. Now you fill in the blanks with what comes up for you on this subject.
Respond: “Lord I acknowledge that I have a problem in this area. Forgive me for my past transgressions. Give me strength to ask forgiveness of others when appropriate. Let me go forward with a new direction, not focused on perfection. Thank You, in Jesus Name. Amen.”