Bite Your Lip

Chic Broersma

READ : Proverbs 11:1-12

A person with good sense remains silent. (v. 12 NLT)

The antique sign offered a sage request: Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my lips. Our advice as seniors may be so wise and time-tested that we could write an advice column in the newspaper. But it’s best to keep it to ourselves if we wish to be welcome in our adult children’s homes. Fact is, we’ve had our opportunity to try out our wisdom on our children. They deserve their own opportunity in rearing their children. The best of our wisdom will, from time to time, emerge in any case. The only advice-givers anyone appreciates are the professionals, where simply closing the book or clicking the link shuts them off.

The book of Proverbs advises, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (10:19). That’s never more true than when applied to advising our adult children. How many broken family relationships could have been prevented if everyone had controlled their tongues? “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Prov. 21:23). Once words have been uttered, damage is done.

When the grandkids are in our homes we may teach them, as long as we don’t contradict their parents. In private prayer we are welcome to voice all our family concerns to our common heavenly Father. If our desires for our children and grandkids are pleasing to God, our prayers will be “powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).


Teach me when to seal my lips, Lord.