Keep It Shutby Karen Ehman explores how to better control your tongue, knowing what to say and how to say it, and realizing when it is best to say nothing at all.
From Bible times to modern times women have struggled with their words. What to say and how to say it. What not to say. When it is best to remain silent. And what to do when you’ve said something you wish you could now take back. In this book a woman whose mouth has gotten her into loads of trouble shares the hows (and how-not-tos) of dealing with the tongue.
Beyond just a “how not to gossip” book, this book explores what the Bible says about the many ways we are to use our words and the times when we are to remain silent. Karen will cover using our speech to interact with friends, co-workers, family, and strangers as well as in the many places we use our words in private, in public, online, and in prayer. Even the words we say silently to ourselves. She will address unsolicited opinion-slinging, speaking the truth in love, not saying words just to people-please, and dealing with our verbal anger.
Christian women struggle with their mouths. Even though we know that Scripture has much to say about how we are—and are not—to use our words, this is still an immense issue, causing heartache and strain not only in family relationships, but also in friendships, work, and church settings.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, a New York Times bestselling author, and a writer for First 5, a Bible study app that reaches over 2 million people daily. She has written thirteen books including Let. It. Go., Keep It Shut, and Pressing Pause. Her passion is to help women to live their priorities as they reflect the gospel to a watching world. Married to her college sweetheart, Todd, and the mother of three, she enjoys antique hunting, cheering for the Detroit Tigers, and feeding the many people who gather around her kitchen island for a taste of Mama Karen's cooking. Connect with her at www.karenehman.com
Read an Excerpt
Keep It Shut
What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All
By Karen Ehman
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2015 Karen Ehman
All rights reserved.
FROM SPARKS TO RAGING FIRE
The Awful Power of the Tongue
* * *
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. PROVERBS 18:21 ESV
I sat alone at a corner table in the sterile, gray, middle-school lunchroom fiddling with the peas and carrots on my mustard- colored plastic lunch tray. I wasn't sitting at the usual table near the front of the lunchroom. That privilege was reserved only for those in the popular group at my midwestern school in the late 1970s.
Oh, how different things had been just a week prior! I was privileged to hang out at the "cool table" then, occupying one of its sought-after metal and Formica spaces. But that was before "it" happened: my banishment from the popular group, which resulted in my need to sit at a normal table like the rest of my eighth-grade class.
I could feel the clique of teens staring at me even though I never looked up from my tray. I can only imagine the things they were saying about me. How could I have let this happen? How could I go from being one of the popular kids to now dreading school so much, especially lunchtime when the hierarchy of middle-school culture was on full display there in the lunchroom. Why?
Because of my words.
My words had brought me to this place. Just a week earlier I had been with a group of the "in" crowd of boys. I was the sports reporter for the school newspaper. We were laughing and discussing our basketball team's latest triumph over our crosstown rival. But soon the conversation turned to what many middle schoolers talk about: what boys liked what girls, and vice versa. The wintertime dance was coming up, and so naturally the topic rose to the top of our talk.
One of the boys was considering taking a friend of mine whom I'll call Janet. I knew Janet really liked this boy, but I also knew a secret about her, a secret that, although nothing serious or scandalous, was embarrassing nonetheless. You see, at the last dance in the fall she had snuck a kiss with another boy in our class under the bleachers when no chaperones were looking. That boy was one of my good friends, and he confided in me just what his opinion was of the stolen kiss: he thought that she kissed like a fish!
Now I should not have taken this juicy piece of information and wielded it against my friend, but I loved to get attention from the boys in my class (and I secretly had a crush on the boy who wanted to take Janet), and so I let the words tumble out. "Hmm ... You might want to think that one through. You see, Bill Warner said he thinks Janet kisses like a fish."
At that the entire group of boys burst into roaring laughter. I assumed that this meant Janet would get no invitation to the winter dance and the top secret info I leaked would never be divulged to her. But I was wrong. Instead of this information deterring any boys from asking her to the dance, the one who had been considering taking her instead proceeded to tell her what I said. And to ask her to the dance anyway.
To say that she was upset would be an understatement. She was livid! She gathered all of the popular girls around, and together they shook their heads in disbelief, their Farrah Fawcett – style bangs swaying in the air, as they expressed their horror that a girlfriend could do such a thing to another sister. It didn't take long for the mob of middle schoolers to make a choice and then take action. They completely banned me from the popular group. No longer could I sit at their table, occupy a space next to them on the bleachers during a sporting event, or even sit near them in any of our classes. For the first time in my nine years of going to public school, I absolutely dreaded going. I had a stomachache every morning riding the bus to school. I was lonely walking through the halls between class periods. And once home, the phone never rang with one of the girls calling, wanting to chat.
Trying to find a new group of kids to hang out with halfway through the school year in eighth grade can be rather difficult. Cliques have formed. Friendships have been forged. And it just didn't seem there was any room for a "cool kids" reject like me. My only relief came from a group of three girls who took me in and allowed me to sit with them in the lunchroom. But the weekends were torturous and lonely.
No longer did I get invited home after school to hang out for a few hours with one of my former friends. There were no more invitations to roller-skating parties. Or Friday night sleepovers. Not even an invitation to hang out at the mall, grab a soda and an afternoon matinee, and just enjoy being thirteen.
The remainder of the year was hard, and I was so thankful to see summer vacation. Thankfully, the next year when I entered high school we would be joining with another middle school to form our freshman class. I hoped and prayed that this would mean I could find a new group of friends and begin to enjoy being a teenager again.
Sometimes I still think about that lonely eighth-grade year and how my choice to repeat something that was said brought about such a horrible time in my life. Now, what I said was not a lie. Bill Warner had said that she kissed like a fish. But my decision to repeat those words was a poor one. Especially when he later denied he ever said it! (And of course that was way before text messaging, so I couldn't save his words as a screenshot for proof later.)
My little middle-school drama taught me one important lesson:
Our words are powerful, and they have consequences.
Whether it is a string of words screamed out in anger during the height of a marital spat, or a politician who chooses to lie in order to win votes, or even just a middle schooler trying to impress a group of boys. Our words are powerful, and our words have consequences.
It only takes a spark ...
"It only takes a spark to get a fire going ..." So started the popular campground song I sang growing up in my local youth group. Each night as we sat staring at the flickering flames of the campfire, someone would start to sing that popular chorus. One by one, each of us would join in, proclaiming the power of sparks to get a fire going, until all of the voices were singing in unity, making loud praise with our voices.
Our words are like sparks. They may start small, but they can ignite a wildfire of destruction and devastation. The author of the book of James was the first to make the analogy: "Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" (James 3:5 – 6).
Yes, what starts as a little spark can soon gain momentum and become a booming blaze.
In the early summer of 2013, I flew to Colorado Springs for a radio show taping. I have been to the Springs several times in the past and always look forward to my visits there. Although the plane ride is a long one, the descent into Colorado is always breathtaking. My heart leaps as I view the mountains and the lush green grass and the natural rock formations.
This landing, however, was different. Just a few days prior, a horrible fire had broken out, and now the Black Forest Fire, as it was called, raged all around. Off in the distance I could see smoke. At other places I could see the blackened, charred remains of what had once been green foliage.
A friend had lost her home. Others on Facebook asked for prayers for relatives and friends of theirs who also were affected by the flames. When it was all over, 486 homes were destroyed, and two people died. The Black Forest Fire was considered the most devastating fire in the history of the state, and the images I saw and the social media about it were terrifying. All in all, over 14,000 acres were burned, and the damage was estimated at over $85 million.
Just how did this disaster start? Record-setting heat had been in the region and a red flag warning from the National Weather Service had been issued. In the early afternoon hours of June 11, a man reported a tiny structure on fire, so small that he could capture the flames on his cell phone camera. However, the record heat coupled with the blowing winds soon fanned the flames, and the fire spread to over 100 acres. And then it spread to 1,000 — and on and on and on.
How fitting that James should use fire as an analogy for how our words can quickly spread, causing untold damage. No wonder the Bible cautions us to be very careful with our words. They are fiery indeed!
Corrupt and untamable
The passage in James also talks about how the tongue can corrupt our whole body. I myself know very well from the times I have wished I could take back my words; often my whole body is affected. My mind races with regret. My heart pounds. My stomach churns and becomes tied up in knots as I fret and stress over what now might happen. My fingers fidget, and I can't seem to concentrate. Sometimes my feet pace as I ponder what I possibly can do now to get myself out of the royal mess I now find myself in.
If we read a little farther in James, we find that the tongue cannot be tamed (James 3:7 – 8). Every creature, reptile, bird, or animal can be tamed, but not the tongue. Imagine a colossal circus full of every kind of creature: dancing bears, prancing horses — even a ferocious looking feline or two performing tricks or jumping through hoops when their trainers give the signal. But way off in one corner stands a booth with a closed curtain and a sign that reads: "The Utterly Untamable." Then, at a very strategic time during the spectacular show the ringmaster hushes the audience in order to display this beast that will not bend. When he throws open the concealing curtain, sitting behind it is a woman on a cell phone, chatting away!
With our tongues we curse men and women who are made in God's likeness and then, at other times, we praise God. Out of our mouths flow both praising and cursing. But, says the New Testament writer, this should not be! James tells us that a spring cannot suddenly shoot out both sweet and bitter water. Neither can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine decide to grow a whole mess of figs instead of grapes. You can't get salt water from a freshwater spring (James 3:9 – 12). Lesson? We should not have both righteous and evil words coming from our tongues.
Misusing My Mouth
Often my mom used to say to us kids, whether we were leaving to go to school for the day or headed off to a weekend social gathering, "Be sure your sins will find you out." There was no shortage of sins to choose from growing up as a midwestern teenager in the seventies and eighties. However, I chose to stay away from the cigarettes and booze and drugs. My problem was not with what went into my mouth. My problem was what came out.
My words, sometimes even my lack of words, have caused me much pain over the years. It hasn't always been that I have gossiped or lied. Sometimes I just talk too much. Or I repeated the words of others, which I should not have. Other times I have tried to say the right thing, but it came out the wrong way. Or I have said the right thing but in the presence of the wrong people or at the wrong time. There was just no shortage to the ways I could misuse my mouth.
A survey through the Bible reveals that God places great importance on the way we use our speech. In fact, the words tongue, talk, speak, words, mouth, and silence are used over 3,500 times in the Bible. The pages of Scripture are full of people just like you and me. Some of them serve as a great example of how we should use our words to build up, encourage, and speak for truth. However, there are others who seem to be the poster children for just how not to use our mouths. They gossiped, whined, lied, hurled sharp and angry words, or just said the wrong thing at the wrong time. They tempted and urged others to sin. They told half-truths that really were whole lies. Or maybe they said the right thing but at the wrong time or to the wrong person. This resulted in many outcomes: from hurt feelings to wounded relationships to even all-out wars between nations.
It really is the same today. Over the course of the last thirty years of my adult life, I have seen words bring about dire situations. I have also seen them bring about much good. Truly, death and life are in the power of the tongue. The key is knowing how to use our speech properly.
Psychiatrist Louann Brizendine states in The Female Brain, "Men use about seven thousand words per day. Women use about twenty thousand." (I do know of a few cases where I'm sure this is reversed, where the husband is a yacker while the wife is pretty quiet!) Although Brizendine's figures are still much debated, just using the numbers on the lower range of both of these estimates means that in the course of a year, women speak about 7.3 million words and men utter about 2.5 million words. All of these words flying off of our lips give ample opportunity for mistakes, fumbles, and foibles. It also gives lots of room for intentionally harmful words. But we must also think of the flip side! How many words of love and care and encouragement can we speak over the course of a year? The choice really is up to us, since we are the ones who control our flapping jaws.
The Origin Of Our Words
The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Before the words can get onto our tongue and spill out of our mouths, don't they begin somewhere else first? Yes, our words may emit from our lips, but they originate in our minds and hearts before they find their way up to our mouths and then to the ears of others. If we really want to learn to control our tongues, knowing what to say, when to say it, and when to say nothing at all, we need to drill down deeper. We need to delve into our hearts and minds to discover the origin of our words, both the life-giving ones and the ones that deal the deathblows.
The apostle Luke says, "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (Luke 6:45).
The mouth speaks what the heart has stored.
You see, my words don't just tumble out of my mouth randomly or by mistake. They are purposeful and intentional, having originated first in my heart. So if we have a mouth problem, in actuality what we really have is a mind and heart issue. Even in the case of my words gone wrong in middle school, it wasn't just that I spoke the wrong words. My mind entertained a wrong fact that turned into a wrong motive. My heart was intent on evil. I just couldn't bear the thought of my latest crush and Janet going to the dance together. So an idea first formed in my mind. Then it trickled its way down into my heart where a root took hold. Then, out of the abundance of my heart, the words bubbled up and spilled out of my lips, thereby causing pain, in this case not only for Janet, but mostly for me.
The truth is, words are never accidental. To be sure, there are times we utter careless words, but even then those words are first formed in our minds, filtered to our hearts, and then given permission to come out of our lips. So in our quest to use our words in ways that are good and honor God, we must first consider the heart and mind from which they come.
Care Of The Heart And Mind
Every two or three years, my husband and I go to a center that does (for a very reasonable price) an entire battery of medical tests. His mother paid for us to go the first time about ten years ago just after his father suffered a stroke. His grandmother had also suffered a stroke, and so my mother-in-law was very concerned that if there were any early warning signals of Todd or me possibly being susceptible to stroke, then she wanted us to know.
Thankfully, each year these tests have shown that not only are our bones good and strong, but our hearts are in excellent condition too. If we had trouble brewing under the surface and were not having these tests administered, we might perhaps one day wake up with chest pain or a heart attack or maybe even a stroke. But because we are being careful to monitor things underneath, we can be alerted if something starts to go wrong before we notice it.
Long before our words go wrong, our hearts are the place in which they fester and brew. We must take very careful care of our hearts and their condition so that the words that come forth will be pleasant and sweet instead of hurtful and bitter. But just how do we do this?
Excerpted from Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. Copyright © 2015 Karen Ehman. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 From Sparks to Raging Fire: The Awful Power of the Tongue 9
2 Squabbles, Spats, and Such: How to Communicate with Family, Friends, and Other Necessary People 21
3 Stop Filling the Gap: Learning to Listen 42
4 Zip It and Pray: How to Talk to God Before You Talk to Others 59
5 Motives and Manners: It's Not Just What You Say; It's Why and How You Say It 78
6 Behind the Screen: Controlling Your Digital Tongue 95
7 But I'm Just Sharing a Prayer Request: Stopping Gossip and Hearsay 112
8 Lying, Loving, and People Pleasing: On Flattery and Speaking the Truth in Love 134
9 Hurling Hate or Healing: Containing Your Anger 155
10 Something to Talk About: Wonderful Ways to Use Your Words 168
11 Gotta Have the Last Word: Tips and Tricks for Tempering the Tongue 189
More Things You Can Do 211
About Karen 227
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A relevant and encouraging book on how our words matter. It takes a look at the dangers - and rewards- that come from them. It's a great read for women (and men) of all ages. There are scripture references and lots of the author's personal stories in all 11 chapters. I enjoyed Chapter 6 "Behind The Screen" which focuses on the computer aspect (social media & blogging)! Scripture Verses, Quips & Quotes at the back of the book are for photocopying to card stock for a visual reminder.
As part of Karen's launch team, I received the book early to read and review. And I am so glad. This was a message I need ... a little more than I would like to admit. Karen's words were powerful and encouraging as she pointed me to God and reminded me He is always listening. I laughed and cringed at her stories as she shared lessons learned the hard way. I felt equipped to use my words wisely, laced with grace as I closed the last page. I look forward to going deeper and have already signed up for the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study of "Keep It Shut."
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman, © 2015 The mouth speaks what the heart has stored. --Keep It Shut, 17 Karen Ehman shares biblical views of Joseph and Daniel relating how their life examples show us how God can work in circumstances given completely over to Him by following what He tells us. She speaks of areas in her own life and the results, and what she has learned. "Keep It Shut" results in an open heart to give to others, and a prompting of when to speak and when to keep silent. Coming alongside to share h~o~w, this book has practical application. One I liked is really finding a quiet time; what works for you to have together time realigning with the Lord, studying God's Word. Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. --Mark 6:31 What better way than to replace what we might think with what Scripture shares with us, consistently. One phase Karen uses is "dead-heading." When dead blooms are left clinging to the flowering plants, they sap the nutrition and strength from the core of the plant. --Ibid., 197 That was a beautiful illustration for me. To refresh and remove deadweight. Needing added grooming, I was interested to read Keep It Shut. I have been learning to be a listener. What a relief not to have to remember what I was going to say while the speaker talking to me has words coming out of their mouth but I am waiting to speak. What a relief, indeed. I am hearing what they are saying instead of "hold that thought." I find that all I had to say ~ to divert the conversation from uncertainty ~ wasn't all that needed or necessary. I am even learning to keep quiet when I am nudged by the Holy Spirit not to speak. I am in my second year of listening, and ready for instruction... Learning to listen has open-ended allowance for clarification of the speaker, "tell me more," and has an added benefit of those seldom speaking beginning to share ~ because now they can! Journaling with this study would be a great way to write as you highlight what stands out to you. Learning together is a benefit. Using new tools for depth cultivating will bring you to uncover questions to finding answers just for you today. Keep It Shut would make a great Bible study gathering, or individually, as a DVD and workbook are also available covering the study spread out over six-weeks, or however long you want to use it. ***Thank you to Linked-to-Lit for sending me a copy of Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman to review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
There were so many instances in this book that I could relate to from experience........either I was the one who was hurt by someones words or I was the one doing the hurting. Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman will prick your heart but Karen takes you digging into the Bible to learn how to filter your words through scripture. You can learn what to say, how to say it, and when you shouldn't say anything. You can learn how to live without wondering if you may have hurt someone or the regret that you did. Karen writes from her heart and shares what led her to write this book. Our words, how we say them and where they originate from, can be uplifting or crushing. In her book, Keep It Shut, Karen helps us want to seek the best way to use our words by going to scripture for the perfect example...Jesus. I highly recommend this book.
Karen Ehman seems to be a down-to-earth yet "pointing you to Jesus" kind of speaker and seems to be quite chatty. Reading her book was very encouraging since I also struggle with the chatty part. KEEP IT SHUT is a book that simply teaches you "what to say, how to say it and when to keep it shut." Here is some advice that she sprinkles throughout the book... "Before we open our mouths, we need to think about not only to whom we're speaking but also what they may be dealing with at the time and how the news might impact them." Don't say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off (Speaking of a small group setting) "If some of us who talk too much would actually zip our lips a minute, then these people could have an opportunity to speak up more often Talking to God helps me know how to talk to others We must also examine the why behind our words as well as how we say them We need to speak the truth, but kindness matters....if something is hard to say, it will be hard for the other person to hear; I need to craft my words in such a way so as they are helpful. Leave some things unsaid: Write your "talk" down, then cross some off. Boil it all down to the most important thing that needs to be said. This is just a taste of book. She gives some awesome advice using the Biblical illustration of salt. She also gives some great reminders about communication through social media. I want to leave you with her closing illustration because I think it's that good. She talks about words and honeycombs, like the Bible does. She did some research and found out that "the sweetness or bitterness of honey is determined by what the bee drinks in and the amount of time it spends in the sun."
Good book. The wisdom, experience & insight that Karen shares is valuable. She uses biblical examples as well as her own stories to help us to know what to say, how to say it & when to just be silent! There are top ten scriptures & Proverbs to read & learn & memorize to help through those rough communications! Definitely a good small group bible study selection.
I was blessed to be on the launch team for Keep it Shut by Karen Ehman. This is a book for all women. We all need to take time to think about what comes out of our mouth. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Karen gives Biblical examples of those who chose their words wisely. She uses scripture to remind us of what the Bible has to say about our words. We not only need to think of those that are verbally but those that are written for others to see. I appreciate her own testimonies in her chapters.
If you’re someone who has ever said something that you later regret to a friend at lunch or in passing to another parent dropping a child off at school or in a clipped voice to that child while dropping them off at school, then reading this book from Karen Ehman will be giving yourself (and anyone you come in contact with!) a huge gift of wisdom and grace. Her words flow from her heart and offer such great tools as “Top Ten Verses To Watch Your Words” and in keeping with today’s social media “Proverbs’ Top Ten “Tweets” On The Tongue.” This book will make you feel as though you are having a conversation with your grandma/mom/best friend so pour a cup of your favorite beverage and curl up in your favorite reading place and enjoy “Keep It Shut."
From the moment I opened the cover of this book it grabbed me. As I read "Keep It Shut" I journaled what I was feeling along the way. I didn't want to forget the impact my first reading of this book had on me. I liked the way Karen shared her experiences so openly. It brought it real. Our words will cost us one way or another. On page 15 Karen said that "We should not have both righteous and evil words coming from our tongues." That stopped me in my tracks as I took in just what that meant. To me it said that I am either of the world or I am of God. It's my choice daily. I not only got those words........ but I've caught them. So much of what Karen has written I've done. Like using my silence as a weapon that she mentions on page 25. I can almost visualize the throwing of "flesh balls" that she mentions and refers to scripture that we are not "walking by the Spirit" but "gratifying the desires of the flesh" Galations 5:16. This is a relatable book. It will not be a book that I will sit on a shelf and forget about. I don't want to forget about it. It has given me a fresh look on dusty thoughts and encouraged me to get back to what Good has called me to do. Karen has also given us some verses, self-assessment tools, and other relevant information from her book that will help us know what to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all. Closing the last page I can honestly say that it did change my life and my perspective on my choice of words. I got it. I will be leading the Ladies Bible studies a lot differently than I have been doing for these past ten years or so. It changed my heart. Now it's time to pass it on.
This book is convicting and entertaining! Karen Ehman has an amazing way of explaining a concept using stories from her own life and the Bible. I could relate to the situations her loose lips landed her in (because I've done so many of the same things)!! This book opened my eyes to the effects our words have on others in ways I had never thought about before. The specific ideas on how & when to keep our mouths shut have been very helpful to me. I highly recommend Keep It Shut to anyone who desires to honor God with their words.
Whether you enter every room mouth-first or just struggle with an angry outburst from time to time; Whether you habitually turn the prayer chain into a gossip group or just lapse occasionally into insecurity-fed flattery; Wherever you fall on the sliding continuum of the blab-o-meter, you’ve undoubtedly wished, at some point in your life, when it comes to your mouth, that you could just Keep It Shut! Karen Ehman has earned the right to issue a stern warning concerning the use of words by transparently sharing her own history of open-mouth-insert-foot. Grounded in Scripture, Keep It Shut confirms that a problem with the mouth begins in the mind and in the heart. Gracious words spring from a heart that is “laced with grace,” a quality that comes straight from God who kindly sets the example with His ultimate compassion. To reinforce the influence of the mind over the mouth, Karen has compiled a collection of Scripture verses on the right use of words which can be photocopied for memorization and meditation. Don’t by fooled by the old standard, “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” because even if your comment passes the truth test, motives count, and they are “weighed by the Lord” (Proverbs 16:2). Among the many helpful check-lists in the book is a list of questions for examining motives before speaking. In the digital age, our fingers can do the talking for us, making it even more urgent that we recognize when it’s time to be quiet. In fact, one of the most thoughtful suggestions in this very practical book deals with confidentiality. When handling a particularly sensitive issue involving a friend, Karen texted the reassurance that she would not be talking about the situation to anyone other than God, and then reminded her friend that she was praying and available if needed. As difficult as it may be for a “talker” to imagine, sometimes the most helpful thing a friend can say is nothing. However, godly speech is not an excuse for wimping out when there is hard truth that needs saying. Instead, she who would speak the truth in love “must find the fulcrum — the pivot point that balances gentle honesty with hard truth enveloped in love.” The truth is that death to self is the only antidote to “angry mama mouth,” and it is the only fire extinguisher for the flames caused by “the gasoline queen.” “See in it a chance to die,” said Amy Carmichael whenever one of her orphanage staff complained about the cost of discipleship, and a costly discipleship it is when a natural -born talker has to weigh the impact of all those words. Used rightly, however, words are a gift, and Keep It Shut ends on a blessedly positive note with many suggestions for using words to build up and not to tear down. I have already recorded one of Karen’s ideas in my planner for use during Lent, and her final chapter and appendices beautifully capture the challenge of any spiritual discipline. There is the old behavior which needs to be cast off, and there is the new Christ-exalting behavior which, by the Spirit, we are empowered to put on. In maintaining a mouth that glorifies God, not only must we be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” We must also be quick to use “gracious words [which] are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Disclosure: This book was provided by BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review.
If you read Karen's previous book "Let It Go" you will feel at home again reading her writing as it makes you feel like you're sitting down talking and laughing about your messy lives, while at the same time she's giving us honest and heartfelt feedback spoken by words God has laid on her heart. If you haven't read Karen's previous books, you are in for a real treat! For women like me who struggle with this issue, this book will be an invaluable resource to turn to time and again. Thanks Karen for once again letting us women know that we are not alone in our struggles! P.S. Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies will begin a free online 6-week study of Keep It Shut starting January 26! Kim Stewart
Karen Ehman is a joyful package of wisdom and wit! She has a gift for being able to engage her readers by being totally transparent (hilariously tattle-tailing on herself)! This new book is a delightful mixture of Biblical truth and honest, personal insight which teaches us how to apply God’s Word to our daily lives, as we seek to use our tongue to edify and not to destroy. Keep It Shut is a book you will want on your personal bookshelf so that you may OPEN it often. A joyful resource and wonderful read!
“Long before our words go wrong, our hearts are the place in which they fester and brew.” Karen Ehman does an incredible job of inspiring each one of us to Keep It Shut! Not only does the author encourage us to listen more than we speak but she also teaches us to be intentional with the words we choose to use. Each woman should read this book. Just when I thought I was making progress in the area of my mouth, Karen challenges my motives and my heart. This is more than a book about our words. Reading this will transform you and inspire you to become a different person and encourage others to do the same. Don’t miss out on this life changing book!