The Peril of the Babbling Tongue

King Henry II, of England, appointed his best friend and supporter, Thomas Beckett, as Archbishop of Canterbury.Thomas A Beket

Once he was elevated, however, Beckett began to oppose Henry on major issues.

One night, Henry drank too much, and in a drunken state, said, “I wish someone would rid me of that pesky priest.”

Upon hearing Henry’s words, the barons, who despised Beckett, went immediately to Canterbury, and killed Beckett while he was saying Mass.

Henry never wanted Beckett to die, and deeply mourned his death.1

The Contemporary English Version expresses Proverbs 10:19 

“You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much – so be sensible, and watch what you say.”

Keeping your mouth shut.Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but, far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”2

Solomon wrote, “Do you see a man hasty (talkative) in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Too often we speak before we think, or tend to be opinionated on most subjects. We, then, are among those who are described as “never having an unspoken thought!”

Professor Albert Einstein gave what he considered the best formula for success in life:

“If ‘a’ is success in life, I should say the formula is a=x+y+z, ‘y’ being play.” “And what is ‘z?’” inquired the interviewer. “That,” he answered, “is keeping your mouth shut.”3

“The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words” (Proverbs 10:19, The Message).

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  1. Power Strategies Of Jesus Christ, by Harry A. Olson, Gramercy Books, New York, 1991, p. 105.
  2. "A Complete Treasury of Stories," by Morris Mandel, Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, N.Y., 11379, Copyright 1974pp. 367 – 368.
  3. Same source as #2, p. 357.