1 Peter – Chapter Three XV

by Ed Urzi

“For ‘He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it'” (1 Peter 3:10-11).

The Apostle Peter will quote extensively from Psalm 34:12-16 in verses ten to twelve. Within these verses, we find a few simple directions for getting along with others in life. Not surprisingly, those directives largely involve watching the things we say. Perhaps the greatest Biblical discourse on this subject appears in the New Testament book of James…

“Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things… For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3: 4-5, 7-8).

A person on a ship without the control of a rudder is likely to end up in a bad place. The same can be said for the self-destructive words of a person who cannot control his or her tongue. But a person like that doesn’t live in isolation, for his or her words have an effect upon others as well. For instance, how many individuals have suffered injury because someone foolishly said the wrong thing at the wrong time? How many fights, misunderstandings, and disagreements have occurred because someone could not control his or her tongue?

Remember that Jesus said, “…out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matthew 12:34-35). Those who cannot control their tongues are like rudderless ships that eventually bring shipwreck to others.

The Biblical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes offer several reminders on this subject…

“The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble” (Proverbs 12:13 NLT).

“Smart people keep quiet about what they know, but stupid people advertise their ignorance” (Proverbs 12:23 GNB).

“A wise person’s heart controls his speech, and what he says helps others learn” (Proverbs 16:23 GW).

“The words of a wise person win him favor, but the words of a fool are self-destructive” (Ecclesiastes 10:12 NET).

To this, we might add one additional reminder: “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut” (Proverbs 10:19 NLT).