Proverbs 30:32 says:
If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
Sometimes my mouth becomes like a fire hose – words come pouring out.
Words that are not pure, kind, merciful or gracious.
Most times the words began as thoughts in my head – swirling around as I lay in my bed…pride rears its ugly head, anger builds up, imaginary conversations begin and before you know it someone says something that triggers these thoughts and out they pour.
More times than not, the moment these impure thoughts come tumbling out of my mouth, I know what I’ve been thinking is not right but there’s no taking them back.
There they are…
my private thoughts…
laid bare to see.
Proverbs 30:33 says – if you have been foolish and prideful and thinking evil things – “put your hand on your mouth.”
That’s one way to make the firehose stop – right?
When my children were younger, I handled bickering this way. I would tell them that because they were not speaking kindly, they had to cup their hand over their mouth for 1 minute. This was extremely effective in making the bickering stop (Yay!) and giving them an uncomfortable consequence.
But today, as I read these words through my adult eyes, I wonder…how many times have I needed to simply put MY hand over MY mouth!?!
Just yesterday I was upset about something and when I reflect on it today, I see how incredibly foolish my words were in response to the “pressure” I was feeling.
In Proverbs 29:11, it says only a fool gives full vent to their anger…a wise man keeps calm.
Do these qualities describe you?
How about when you are under pressure?
Let’s look at Proverbs 30 and the graphic illustration used to explain how strife is produced.
For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife.
This verse explains some common laws of nature.
Curds are the product of pressure on milk. Blood is the product of pressure on a nose. And in the same way…strife is the product of pressure from an angry person.
Have you been under pressure?
Perhaps a child or spouse is pressing on you with demands?
Perhaps your in-laws, a friend or co-worker is making you angry and you feel the tension rising?
Or maybe out on Facebook or other social media the pressure there is making your anger spill over into your comments.
How do we avoid strife in the midst of these scenarios?
Perhaps we need to physically put our hand over our mouth or stop our fingers from typing.
Remember what James 1:20 says:
“The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.“
Oh friends, let’s pursue righteousness by avoiding anger and strife.
Let’s not be the one putting pressure on others and causing strife.
Let’s not respond to pressure with anger.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Do you see the product of wisdom in the list above?
Mercy and good fruit.
And peace again.
As Jesus said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
~ Matthew 5:9
Are you under pressure – where is the pressure coming from?
Which of these qualities do you need to pursue most to overcome strife in your life?
Walk with the King,