How To Keep Your Mouth Shut

It is easier to say too much than to keep your mouth shut! James 3 is filled with wise wisdom that teaches us the seriousness of keeping our mouth shut rather than spewing vicious and hurting words out when we are provoked.

This study did me as much good in reminding me to be more careful with the words that come out of my mouth as I hope it will do for you.

Let’s dig right in!!

Digging Deeper:  James 3:1-12

Key Verse:  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. James 3:6

Reasons To Keep Your Mouth Shut

We live in a country where we have free speech, right?

I can say anything I want to my children, husband (especially to my husband) and to my friend. What about those times when we are given the short-end-of-the-stick?

I can say anything I want to express myself. Right?

Most people would say that you can say anything to anyone anyway you want. You can defend your rights any way you’d like. Right?

Jesus lived out a totally different way of responding and reacting to people when He was ridiculed, beaten, and crucified. That pretty much covers all the possible scenarios of mistreatment!

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the next twelve verses in James, keeping in mind what YOU are facing in your life that, just. is. not. fair.

Together we are going to see how we can really do better in how we are responding with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit directing our every action.

Did you read James 3:1-12 thoughtfully and prayerfully?

I’ve read this passage before and yet, as I prepared this post, I was convicted in the quietness of my heart because I need to do a whole lot better in my marriage.

Moms, consider your interactions with your children because eternity hangs in the balance between you and your child.

I have four children (total 7) that my only influence over their lives remains in their memories. They are grown and not living for Jesus.  

There are three things that you can do with your tongue according to James 3:1-12:
  1. The tongue can offend
  2. The tongue is like a fire – it spreads evil
  3. The tongue is unruly

Besides being an organ of the body that allows humans to articulate and communicate, the tongue has the power of a weapon on others.

tongue (noun)
  1. The fleshy muscular organ in the mouth of a mammal, used for tasting, licking, swallowing, and (in humans) articulating speech.

The tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.


1. Keep Your Mouth Shut . . . When You Interrupt Your Husband in Public to Give Your Opinion


  • When your husband is talking and you interject your point, you are telling your husband (and friends) that you’re opinion is more important than what he is saying.
  • This interrupting habit can get even worse behind closed doors.
  • Your husband is expressing his feelings and you constantly interrupt with contradictions and corrections to what he is saying.

The situation does not matter. What if I told you of a couple where the husband was always and forever cutting his wife down? She was a sweet wife and would often keep her mouth shut. On the other hand, there were times that she just couldn’t contain herself and the barrage of cuts any longer. When the pressure became too strong, she would cave and for weeks would turn on her husband always and forever telling him ways that he could and should stop using his words in such a discouraging way.

You might be thinking that she had every right to defend herself and explain to her husband why he shouldn’t be treating her that way!!

It won’t help her situation. In fact, if she continues that approach, she will never get the response that she wants with all of her heart.

Because . . .

  • Your situation does not matter.
  • Remember your manners.
  • You must wait your turn to talk.
  • Keeping your mouth shut will show your husband that you respect him.
  • Keeping your mouth shut will earn you the opportunity to express your opinion some other time.

2. Keep Your Mouth Shut . . . After You Ask Forgiveness

Balance is an important thing and that needs to be remembered where our mouths are concerned.

When you have hurt someone, it is not the time to keep your mouth shut!

Contrary to what some are teaching (or not teaching) out there, when we offend someone, we are to ask forgiveness. It isn’t OK to do wrong and it isn’t OK to keep going as if nothing wrong was said or done.

We need to own our wrongdoings and ask for forgiveness because of Jesus’ shed blood.

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 9:22

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Matthew 5:24

When you are asking forgiveness of your husband, children or friend, that is where it is easy to mess up!

  • Do not give an explanation and defend yourself when you say those two short words, “I’m sorry.”
  • An apology like that devalues the apology.
  • All you need is a simple apology. Just two words.
  • When you follow with reasons and validation for your actions,  you might as well have skipped the apology altogether!

3. When You Want to Criticize Your Husband

Oooooooh this hurts!! Major conviction going on in my heart!!

When you are hurt, angry or jealous or your husband is belittling or berating you, returning caustic comments or trying to explain to your husband how he is hurting you, is doing nothing other than bringing your marriage to a lower and lower level of communication.

It is a bad habit and not much different than what you perceive your husband is doing to you.

It hurts your husband emotionally and will make it more and more difficult to easily reconcile your situation.

It is so much better to walk with Jesus in this and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Another thing that you can do to your husband is subtly (because who would do it openly?!) being passively aggressive towards him and making him feel stupid,  ugly, dumb, or insignificant.

In Closing

I know that this is digging deeper than you may have wanted to go.

Maybe you don’t have these issues with your tongue or in your marriage. Praise God! You might know someone who would be encouraged by this discussion.

What other ways is God speaking to your heart through these verses?

Get your Journaling Through James Workbook by Judith Kowles and give yourself grace in the fails of mom-life!

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Mouth Shut

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