Proverbs 13:3 “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”
The admonition given to us in this verse is to “keep” or guard our mouths by monitoring our speech, and to ensure that only right words proceed from our lips. When we “keep” a watch over our words, we will save ourselves from many heartaches in life; but when we choose to “open wide” our lips with unfiltered and unrestrained speech, we are headed for destruction.
Words are very powerful tools. They are the medium through which we express our emotions, convey ideas, give instructions, solve problems, carry out daily business, develop friendships, and offer advice. Words connect us with the world around us; and it is through words (either spoken or written) that we communicate with our fellow human beings. But have you ever stopped to consider just how many words we use on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis? The findings are both surprising and informative.
According to a research study performed by Dr. Louann Brizendine through the University of California, the average child knows around 4,000 words by age four, 10,000 words by age eight, and 20,000 - 30,000 words by adulthood. The average human speaks over 7,000,000 words a year, 608,000 words a month, and 152,000 words a week. The average man speaks 7,000 words a day, and the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day (my wife would probably assert that the opposite is true, at least in our marriage).
Whether or not these statistics are entirely accurate, we can all agree that words play a crucial role in our daily lives. With this in mind, it is important that each of us choose to use the right kind of words in our interactions with others and in the various relationships of life.
David provides us with an excellent formula for monitoring our speech and guarding our mouth in Psalm 19:14 where he says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”