The other day I was talking with a dear friend about combatting our tendency to be snappy and irritated with our close family members, particularly when tired at the end of the day. Both of us love our family members dearly, but find it so easy to go crazy on them and say unkind things to them when they don’t do what we want, disagree with, or disappoint us. What remedy do we have for this, we asked ourselves? Well, the Book of Proverbs, for one.
In this book of the Bible are many wise words contemplating this virtue and urging us to guard our tongues. We thought, “Let’s pick some verses of Proverbs to memorize and say in our minds before we answer a loved one in an unkind way.” That way we’ll take time to pause before getting ugly, and contemplate some of the wisdom of God, too.
So, here are some verses from Proverbs (Douay-Rheims translation, of course) that I have been learning to keep my mind and my mouth under control:
- 15:1 A mild answer breaketh wrath: but a harsh word stirreth up fury.
- 12:16 A fool immediately sheweth his anger: but he that dissembleth injuries is wise.
- 10:11-12 The mouth of the just is a vein of life: and the mouth of the wicked covereth iniquity. Hatred stirreth up strifes: and charity covereth all sins.
- 3:34 He [The Lord] shall scorn the scorners, and to the meek he will give grace.
- 17:17 He that is a friend loveth at all times: and a brother is proved in distress.
- 10: 19 In the multitude of words there shall not want sin: but he that refraineth his lips is most wise.
- 11: 12 He that despiseth his friend, is mean of heart: but the wise man will hold his peace.
- 12:14 By the fruit of his own mouth shall a man be filled with good things, and according to the works of his hands it shall be repaid him.
- 15:4 A peaceable tongue is a tree of life: but that which is immoderate, shall crush the spirit.
- 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his soul: but he that hath no guard on his speech shall meet with evils.
That last one is a really stern warning! I need it perhaps most of all. As I have a horrible proclivity for gossip, I can use so many of these verses to rein in my tongue before I engage in that sin as well. The Book of Proverbs–what a wonderful gift given to us right in the middle of the Bible. Thank you so much, Lord (and King Solomon)!