Have you ever uttered something and then wished you hadn’t? Solomon recognized the potential danger in our speech: “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (Proverbs 4:24).
John said that one of the three pathways temptation flows is from our hearts to our mouths. Each of us can fall prey to the bait of boasting, which is an overstatement of the truth. The temptation is to make ourselves sound better than we really are.
Deceitfully hidden in the bait of boasting is the hook of dissatisfied desires: “The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (Proverbs 26:22). Although boasting words that lift us up or bring others down originate in our hearts and travel to the ears and hearts of others, they never satisfy. Unfortunately, we often keep trying to discover satisfaction in our loose lips.
The misuse of our tongues gets us in trouble with God: “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13). A humble heart fears, or reveres, God who hates a proud heart which leads to evil behavior including the sin of perverse speech. Satan accuses us before God and others by lifting up his line to show his trophy — those who have misused God’s gift of language.
The sinker is those who fall prey to the bait, hooked in their dissatisfied desires, standing accused, are destroyed because God hates the misuse of the mouth (Proverbs 6:17, 19).
Ask a close friend to help you take an inventory of your words for two weeks. Are they wise or foolish? Ask the person to let you know when you are misusing your mouth including boasting or bringing others down. Agree that you will share the times of misuse that occur when your friend is absent. Be sure to identify any recurring persons who are frequent targets of your boasting. God will use this exercise to transform your speech, refocusing your intentions to His design for your words.