Mark Twain quipped, “It takes two years to learn how to talk, and the rest of your life to control your mouth.” The Psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O’ Lord.” A sin most often tolerated in the church, and sometimes even condoned, is the sin of gossip. Jesus condemns careless words; saying they “come from an evil heart” (Mt 15:18 TLB). And how about words we speak without considering their effect on others? If you think God just turns a blind eye, think again! Jesus said, “Every one…is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of reckoning…take them seriously” (Mt 12:36 TM). Your words create or destroy, discourage or inspire, heal or hurt, so choose what you say carefully. Careless words are often just the meaningless chatter we engage in when we’ve nothing worthwhile to contribute. And the more you speak them, the more likely they are to deteriorate into gossip and hurt people. Solomon writes, “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent” (Pr 17:28 NLT). Would you trust someone who had a frivolous comment for everything? No? Then stop and think about what comes out of your mouth! Would you get more respect and cause less confusion if you kept it shut? Or were more discerning about the kind of stories you tell? Or thought twice before you “shoot from the hip”? The Bible says, “Let your speech always be with grace…that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Col 4:6 NKJV).