It all starts with Grammy coming home from church with them today for lunch. I’ve already made the brownies (which I left in the oven waaaaay too long when I got distracted with the kids—good thing we’re having them with ice cream on top!) and the jello salad. I read aloud three chapters of the new book I wrote for Joshua to the kids. And now, while they are at church and before I start making the rest of the dinner, I must sit down and write my blog for this week.
I have less than two hours to write—and I normally spend anywhere from four to six hours writing my blog each week. What to write about? I spent the entire week working non-stop on Joshua’s book, trying to have it done before they came. Not much to talk about there. I spent some time working on the big birthday celebration, but I’ll write about that later. My kids have not been a lot of inspiration this week.
The only thing I can think of is KISS—an acronym I heard of back in the 80’s when Bob was in seminary preparing to be a preacher-boy. It stood for Keep It Short and Sweet. Or Keep It Short and Simple. Or Keep It Short, Sweetheart! (as the young seminary wives would say.) Or Keep It Short, Stupid! (as the rest of the congregation might say!)
And so I am going to KISS (and I have just used more than 300 words to tell you I am going to keep it short!) Sometimes that is not such a bad thing. My father used to like to quote Abraham Lincoln: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Before Lincoln, though, Solomon said it best—“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17:28)
I’ve been reading in Proverbs this week and it is interesting to see how much that book has to say about keeping your words short and sweet. For instance, Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 13:3 goes on to say, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” and Proverbs 21:23 adds, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”
Proverbs talks a great deal about not just the quantity of our words, but the kinds of words we speak. We are told to put away lying, flattery, gossip, trouble-making, clamor, quarreling, perverseness and foolishness, and to speak with wisdom and kindness. Proverbs 31:26, in speaking of the virtuous woman, says, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
I was thirty before I began to see the wisdom in keeping my mouth shut more often—to guard not only what I say, but how much I say. You may find that hard to believe, I know, considering how long-winded I can be when writing this blog! (Even trying to keep it short—I am over 600 words now!) I think that is why I prefer writing to speaking—I can weigh my words and backtrack—deleting what is a mistake, or awkwardly-said, or just should not have been said at all. When you are speaking, once those words are out there, they’re out there for good. You can’t take them back or delete. Whatever we say and whether we keep it short or long, we need to guard our mouths. James speaks of the tongue and the great damage it can do. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! …And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity… the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil…” (James 3:5-8)
Psalm 19:14 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.” Let this be our thought for this week: Keep our words short and sweet and always glorifying to the Lord!
(And I said it all in only 794 words!)