I know this has been used as a catch phrase by the military in referring to ships. However, I believe it could be applied to each one of us today. Loose lips can sink more than naval ships. They can sink friendships, relationships, fellowship and your worship. Let's look at the individual words in this title and see what they mean.
Loose adj. disconnected, unrestrained, unconfined, unattached, not fastened, unrestricted.
Something that is loose is like a criminal who is free: he is no longer confined. A dog which is untied is no longer restricted or restrained: it is loose.
Lips n. two fleshy folds surrounding the orifice of the mouth.
Sink v. to decline to a lower position.
Have you ever had a sinking feeling? The sun sinks lower and lower into the west: it declines to a lower position.
Ships n. any large seagoing vessels.
Loose lips can sink more than sea-going vessels. They can sink anyone they come in contact with (relatives, family members, friends, co-workers, sisters and brothers in Christ). Our loose lips can literally destroy any human vessel.
Our big mouths can get us in more trouble quicker
than any other part of our anatomy.
The mouth could be classified as a firearm because words can come out of our mouths faster than a speeding bullet. Our mouths can be much like spatter-barrel shotguns. When used as weapons, they can successfully hit multiple targets at a great distance.
When these two fleshly folds (lips) are unrestrained, they can become skilled in fault finding, sarcasm, cutting remarks, criticism, bitter attacks, insults, and giving advice without knowledge. Our lips can literally sink people. Our tongues can debase, demean, and degrade as they weaken, wound, and lower people's spirits.
How many of you can recall a cutting, hurtful remark made to you?
We have all experienced the deep pain and agony that someone's verbal insensitivity has caused in our lives: we know it hurts. Sometimes these attacks are made face to face and sometimes through gossip, backbiting, and malicious slander. Unfortunately, many of us have learned enough from being attacked that we know just how to turn around and attack others.
How many of us have gotten caught up in having LOOSE LIPS? How many can remember a cutting remark you made to someone? Oh, we'd rather not go there. We are more comfortable recalling what others have done to us.
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,
but that which is good to the use of edifying,
that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"
Words that come out of our lips should not have any ill-will to them. We are not to lay waste someone's character, or confidence. Our lips should not be harmful or injurious to others. Our words are to be used to uplift, restore and edify.
Physical abuse can be easily detected by black eyes and bruised bodies. We need to realize that verbal volleyball leaves invisible black eves and invisible bruises on the bodies of those we assail. Because we don't see the destruction with our physical eyes, we are sometimes unaware of the extent of the spiritual and/or emotional damage we are causing. In fact, the hidden effects of loose lips upon others can last far longer than any visible, physical bruises on their bodies. Words can take a terrible toll on someone's confidence and/or self-esteem, testimony, etc.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we tear down
instead of building others up by our Loose Lips
"Did you hear?"
That's usually the opening line. Then comes the payoff: the family secret, the inside scoop, the skeleton in someone's closet, etc. It's a rare listener who responds, "No, don't tell me!" Most of us love gossip. That is why the tabloids are so successful (inquiring minds want to know). If knowledge is power, secret knowledge must be super power with an ego-booster rocket attached. The Paparazzi will do most anything to get an exclusive.
Of course, none of us want to think of ourselves as gossips. We'd prefer to think of ourselves as "good conversationalists," "amusing entertainers," or "the life of the party." Our conversation speaks loudly about our character and our relationship with the Lord. The Bible teaches us to mark those who cause division. I am wary of those who are never at a loss for words. They share everything going on in their lives much too quickly. They love to be the first person to pass along information. (Just like children who come running into the house telling everything their brothers and/or sisters have done that day.) It does not necessarily have to be negative information either. We say kids are motor mouths when they can't keep anything to themselves. How many adults are the same way? Did you know that never being quiet and never being at a loss for words is a sign of spiritual immaturity?
"And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren
which are in all Macedonia:
but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
And that ye study to be quiet,..."
1 Thessalonians 4:10-11
Underline that part of the verse, Study to be Quiet! God wants us to have a meek and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:4). We need to study to be Quiet! To keep our mouths shut. Why? It can avoid a multitude of problems and besides, we can learn more by listening then we can by talking.
Do we provoke our children to wrath, or to love and good works? Parents, when your children are left behind to turn back the pages in the albums of their minds, what type of memories will they have? Do your lips provoke anger with demeaning remarks?
"Cry Baby! You little cry baby!"
"What kind of magna cum laude remark is that?"
"You're just like your mother/father (in a negative sense)."
"Loser! Dummy! Fatso! Stupid!"
"Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile."
Guile n. deceitful, cunning, clever, crafty, sly words.
There is a sport which could be entitled "Slapping with a Smile." Now, l am not talking about simple teasing. Slapping with a Smile is a game in which people demean each other with insults in a joking manner. These are better known as cheap shots: put downs. The game starts out with a casual exchange of clever words that can lead to insults with hidden messages. "Why don't you get off your lazy fat duff and help with the dishes?"
Television is full of this verbal badminton. It's like a volleyball game of words. The one who is quicker with the most poisonous tongue is the winner. Maybe you can develop a tough enough skin to withstand the onslaught of a verbal challenge of words, but I haven't run into anybody yet who has successfully done so. However, I have spoken to some people who wish they had never gotten started in this harmful game. These actions will take a terrible toll on your relationships. This is a hurtful and most dangerous game that can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence. These words can leave people saying to themselves such things as: "I can't drive! I need a facelift! I'm stupid! I can't do anything right!" You name it.
"He that hath a froward heart findeth no good
and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief
Know-it-all lips give advice about something when the speaker has little or no knowledge concerning what is being talked about. Over the past couple of years, ignorant talk has caused me more frustration than any of the other forms of "loose lips." Why do people try to give advice and impress others with their great knowledge of a subject about which they have not a clue? The masters of know-it-all lips are found in the book of Job: Eliphaz, Bilbad, Zophar. Remember how strongly Eliphaz reproved Job in chapter four? To put it in today's language, Eliphaz didn't cut Job any slack while telling him to get his act together.
As I read Eliphaz' pious reproof to Job, it was obvious to me that Eliphaz had never suffered any significant loss. Why? If he had, he would have ministered grace, instead of rebuking, and condemning words, to his friend. Throughout his whole ordeal, Job never cursed God. He was not sinning when he attempted to explain the excruciating pain and horrible calamities that he was suffering. He was just hoping that his friends would help him bear his great heavy burden. Instead, Job found himself on the defensive. Defending ourselves when we are verbally attacked will eventually always lead to trouble. Job ultimately reproved God for being unjust because he was provoked, not edified, by the words of Eliphaz; he was severely wounded.
"Then Job answered and said,
How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?"
The tongue and lips are directly connected to what part of the anatomy?
The face? The throat? No, I believe it is the heart. The tongue is directly connected to the heart. What we harbor in our hearts will come out through our lips. Satan first does his work in the heart, and it comes out via the tongue.
"Do not ye yet understand,
that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly,
and is cast out into the draught?
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;
and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
These are the things which defile a man:
but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
"And supper being ended,
the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot,
Simon's son, to betray him;"
"But Peter said,
Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost,
and to keep back part of the price of the land?"
In order to reach the root of our LOOSE LIPS, we will have to deal with our hearts. Whatever the reason for using verbal brutality, it is always preceded by a heart problem. If the heart were not harboring sinful attitudes, our lips would not be speaking unprofitable, provoking, perverse, know-it-all words.
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in PICTURES of silver."
"The tongue of the just is as choice silver:
the heart of the wicked is little worth."
These verses explain that our words are actually pictures of who we really are. Our words are like Kodak moments in someone's memory. As choice silver is beautiful and very valuable, so can our words be. When we speak, our minds transform the words we are speaking into visual pictures. Our words, therefore, become pictures in people's minds and become memories.
Memories are pictures in the mind. Consequently, people make pictures of us all the time. Then they place the pictures in the albums of their minds.
"Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips.
Incline not my heart to any evil thing,
to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity:
and let me not eat of their dainties."