“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…” (Proverbs 10:11)
I read this verse recently, and it hit me like a two by four, right in the noggin. I recalled the prior weekend, and I wondered, “Was my mouth a fountain of life?” I had to admit, in many moments, it was not. I felt a deep conviction and resolved to be better in the future.
My hunch, if you’re raising boys or girls, you may, on occasion, not use your mouth in the most productive manner. You might be the exception. If you are, my sincere apologies for offending you. Please forward this post to someone normal.
But, assuming you’re something like me, let’s do this together. Let’s dive into Proverbs 10 and unpack what it says about how we use our mouths. Maybe we can mine some wisdom that helps us get this right in the future.
A tale of two mouths
All by itself, chapter 10 of Proverbs is a how-to-use-our-mouth clinic. In just thirty-two verses, we see sixteen different references to our mouths: nine focus on how the mouth is used by the wicked or foolish; while seven focus on the wise or righteous.
On the dark side:
- “the mouth of the wicked conceals violence” (10:6, 11)
- “a babbling fool will be ruined” (10:8, 10)
- “with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand” (10:14)
- “he who spreads slander is a fool” (10:18)
- “the mouth of the wicked [brings forth] what is perverted” (10:32)
On a more positive note:
- “the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (10:11)
- “on the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found” (10:13)
- “he who restrains his lips is wise” (10:19)
- “the tongue of the righteous is as choice silver” (10:20)
- “the lips of the righteous feed many” (10:21)
- “the mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom” (10:31)
As a Father, my mouth can be one of my greatest enemies. But, it shouldn’t be that way! If I want to be a godly father, my mouth should be a source of blessing and encouragement. What flows from it should be life-giving, not spirit-crushing. However, I fail often in this regard.
And sure – sometimes I must deliver a rebuke, or help my sons see they’re in error. Even that, I could do with grace and love (Galatians 6:1). But, so often, I don’t.
Fixing the source
You may have this same struggle. If you do, I can help you find some good news, but maybe not right where you’d expect to locate it. The issue with our mouths isn’t really in our mouths. It’s in our hearts.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (Luke 6:45)
If I want my mouth to be a blessing and not a curse, I must store up things in my heart that fit that mold. God’s word, prayer, time in worship. All these things are a down payment on the words I’ll use later.
If you’re a Father, let me urge you to use your words to bless your spouse and children. And, if you’re struggling to do this, join me in digging into your heart and cleaning out the source.