When To Keep Your Mouth Shut, Calamity Jane

Several weeks ago, a friend pinned a photo to Pinterest that caught my attention. It wasn’t particularly beautiful as Pinterest photos go. No gorgeous shot of someone’s garden, latest home improvement project, or sunset photo to top all sunset photos. It was a snapshot of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, slightly bent in the middle but otherwise in decent condition.

The paper was a printed list of some sort. It has begun to fade ever so slightly. And someone highlighted much of the content in yellow.

Seeing as how this photo stood out among the jewels of Pinterest for having no luster or curb appeal whatsoever, and being the nosy… errr, inquisitive… person that I am, I had to stop and take a look at the title printed in large font across the top of that piece of paper: When to Keep Your Mouth Shut. Hmmm… Talking to me, aren’t you God?

The paper is a list of Bible verses that warn of situations in which we should take care to keep our mouths closed. Not doing so seems to be a problem everywhere we turn. I will step forward and say that I am among the chief offenders.

A situation arises. Within 2.46 nanoseconds I have made observations, sized up the matter and the motives, and formed an opinion. Sometimes I do not take care to keep my mouth shut and out flies said opinion. Maybe I need to linger over this list for awhile?

The evidence of a culture unable to keep its mouth shut is absolutely everywhere. Children and their parents have no qualms about back-talking teachers, preachers, librarians, flight attendants, nurses, even law enforcement. Television is loaded with “talk shows,” most of which turn into shouting matches and serve no purpose other than stirring up discontent among the masses.

Social media has its own sad contribution to make to the problem. We bully one another with our opinions, our beliefs, our inability to keep our mouths shut. We cry for peaceful dialogue and mutual understanding but seem unable to comprehend what that entails… probably because we can’t hush long enough to think and listen.

In the spirit of letting the Word of God do its work, so begins the first in the When To Keep Your Mouth Shut series.

I chose the first verse for its irony because of a particular word in the NIV translation.

Day 1 - Proverbs 21_23

My current facebook profile picture is a meme featuring a picture of Calamity Jane egging people on to go ahead and be a legend if the urge overtakes them. I chose that picture after a particularly horrible week of everything mechanical breaking down that possibly could at my house. It’s been awhile, but I seem to remember we had a vehicle and at least one appliance failing, and we were dealing with plumbing issues as well.

The abundance of calamity in my life at that time prompted a friend to refer to me as Calamity Jane and me to pick that meme. This was not self-imposed calamity but that which comes as a part of living in a fallen world. Things break down and circumstances don’t always go well — the mostly unavoidable stuff.

However, according to the Proverbs, there is another kind of calamity that is self inflicted — the kind that comes from not keeping our mouths shut. I seem to have so much of the former type of calamity that I think I’ll pay better attention to the Scriptures so as to avoid the latter.

Lord, help us to guard our mouths and keep our tongues from calamity with our families, our friends, in “real life” and on social media. Praise be to God.

©2015-2017 Our Lives in Stories


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