FREE Printable: 7 Tips to Stop Shooting From The Lips
“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27 (ESV)
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite places to pass the time was on our couch, snuggled up on my father’s lap, watching television. One of my dad’s favorite programs was also one of mine — the Andy Griffith Show. The plot centered around the folk of a small town named Mayberry and featured Sheriff Andy Taylor, a widower, his precocious young son, Opie, and their loving Aunt Bea who kept things together on the home front.
But my favorite character of all was the sheriff’s bumbling sidekick, Deputy Barney Fife. I laughed my way through Barney’s antics.
Trigger-happy Barney prided himself on being “quick to the draw,” and he loved to “watch the lead fly.” He would frantically grab for his gun whenever there was an utterance of trouble brewing. In haste and excited recklessness, he would try to draw his pistol from his holster to protect the town from evil, but in doing so, he’d quickly shoot from the hip and shoot himself in the foot instead.
Now before we get lost in idioms and Mayberry reminiscing, let’s make a practical application. We might not carry a deputy’s pistol, but we shouldn’t shoot from the hip with our words either. Better said, we shouldn’t “shoot from the lip.”
Today’s key verse from the book of Proverbs states, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” The book of Proverbs has many pieces of advice for how and how not to use our words. In fact, just a few pages later in Proverbs 29:20 we read, “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (ESV).
When I’m hasty with my words, I end up shooting myself in the foot, just like Barney. It’s foolish, and in my own reality apart from TV land, shooting from the lip doesn’t hurt just me. I also wound innocent bystanders on the other end of my unfortunate misfire, causing damage when my words tear into another’s heart.
So how do we remedy this quick-to-the-draw impulse and keep ourselves from the damaging habit of shooting from the lip?
We need to do what Proverbs 17:27 urges: restrain our words, have knowledge and a cool spirit. This means to stop, really think about what to say and allow our emotions to simmer down a bit before we let any words emerge from our mouth.
Back in Mayberry, the insightful Sheriff Taylor required that Deputy Barney keep his only bullet tucked safely in his shirt pocket. This way it took him a few seconds to load his gun, giving him time to think before he acted. When ol’ One Bullet Barney listened to his boss’s order, he had fewer accidents and less embarrassment.
However, Barney didn’t always take Andy’s advice. Throughout the episodes, the gawky deputy periodically reverted to old habits and prematurely loaded his gun. Those instances resulted in great ratings for the show and plenty of laughs, but they also serve as reminders that we can easily slip into our old “quick-draw” selves.
Barney had to make a choice to keep his bullet in his pocket. We have to make the choice every day to put away the verbal ammunition and restrain our words. When we choose to pause and ponder before we let words fly, we can keep a misfire from occurring.
Can we put our words away? Can we tuck them safely in a place where we will have to stop, think and cool down before speaking? Let’s keep our speech unlocked and unloaded, and not make it a practice to mindlessly shoot from the lip.
Father, help me pause and ponder before I speak, preventing myself from thoughtlessly shooting from the lip. I want my words to please You and not wound others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m giving away a free printable PDF with 7 tips to help you stop shooting from the lips and speak words that will please God and strengthen your relationship with others.
To download the free PDF, click here ===> 7TipsLipsPrintable See below for a sneak peek. Enjoy!
I shared this with our Bible Study class that is going through this study together in class and we noticed that #3 tip should be from Proverbs instead of Psalm. Just wanted you to know!
Thank you again for this opportunity to work together with you and share your work with the ladies I minister to in church and in my community!
A lifetime of struggle with this. Once a fool always a fool.
I believe The Holy Spirit is the only One who can help me..Please pray for His strength and reminders so I don’t have to cut out my tongue…
Lord please block Satan’s attacks. Thank You for Your gifts of grace and mercy. Through Jesus I pray.
Our pastor touched on “gossiping” in his sermon last week and I kept thinking about how much I’ve been wanting to read your book! Perhaps I’m being led to it :)
Thank you for the tips!
I had trouble trying to print them. I finally have a copy but the back round came out pink which is not a problem but my first try I could only print the first page and that came out the way you have it set up on the page and then after that I could print both but the second one it would have the & symbol all through the scripture and not have the numbers one the side and then sometimes it would take a while to get the pages to come up. Not sure if anyone else has had these problems trying to print?
We are doing the bible study the Power Of A Woman’s Words and want to be able to use this as a pass out sheet.
Your devotion and tips are just what I needed to be reminded of- as My mouth has fired rapidly, recently- like automatic rifle fast. THANK YOU for the simple reminders and helpful direction it is truly appreciated!
I read your Psalms 31 devotion and it really hit me hard. I am one who speaks before I think. I am so grateful that God led me to read your post. I have also liked you on Facebook so that I can follow you and receive more guidance.
Have a blessed day.
Right up my issue-alley! This has always been my achilles heel-growing up in a family that held nothing back and we were good at using our words in a bad way.Putting these up were I can see them!
Thank you… I needed this reminder to take the 72 Hour Pause.