by John Hutchinson
On a safari to the Pilbara region of Western Australia we saw lots of Aboriginal drawings. However, we came to an area where the tribe of the time omitted mouths in their portraits. They associated the mouth with flooding or something similar and left it out of their art works.
We need our mouth. It's the gateway to our digestive system. What we eat determines our health and well being. But mouths are also our main means of communication.
We can say all kinds of things. We can tell the truth. We can lie. We can talk about good things. We can talk about bad things. We can swear at people, abuse people and condemn people. But if we want to make a difference we can choose to encourage and inspire people.
What we say travels. You never know where it will go. We tag birds and sharks and track them for thousands of kilometers. If only there was a device we could track our words with it, which may help us to use our mouths more wisely. It may surprise us where our words travel to and what they achieve.
Once we've said it we've said it and nothing can change what we have said. We might say to the next person, 'keep this to yourself...'
The next person tells it to another and says, 'Please don't repeat this but..."
The psalmist said: 'I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth.' Psalm 39:1
Farmers sometimes muzzle their dog to stop them biting the sheep. But, you know, words can bite and tear people apart like savage dogs do to their prey.
Once it's said it's said. Retrieving our words is a bit like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube.
The apostle James said, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." (James 3:9-11)
I heard a wise man say, "I would rather be guilty of saying too little than too much."
It's often when the pressure is on that our worst comes out. When riled or put down we can let fly in anger and say things we never would otherwise – and regret what we have said for the rest of our days!
The greatest restraint under extremity was magnificently shown by Jesus when He hung upon the cross. The apostle Peter wrote: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats." (1 Peter 2:22-23)
Jesus was sinless in word thought and deed. Of Him they said, "No man spoke like this man."
Praising God is a wonderful exercise of the mouth. Singing is so good for our health and well being. The Psalmist said, "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."
Thank God for our mouths.•