Thursday, February 22, 2018


I pay attention to signs. Speed limit signs, street signs, even bumper stickers—especially billboards. Signs remind me where I am, where I want to go and often inadvertently carry a message that has a spiritual connotation. A certain large billboard along the route I drive to town not only gave me a chuckle but boldly proclaimed a truth.

Pictured was a huge horizontal zipper the width of the billboard superimposed over a man's hairy lips with an in your face sentence above it, “ACCUSED OF A CRIME? SHUT UP AND LAWYER UP!” Beneath it was the name and address of a local Law Firm.

In the course of our daily lives chances are that we're not committing heinous criminal acts which call for the Miranda Rights to be read to us. Those advise us that legally we don't have to speak and thus incriminate ourselves. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in the court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?"

What I do understand is that there's a time to speak and a time to zip the lips. The zipper terminology is unbelievably recent, within my lifetime. Zippers were first introduced to the public in the 1930s for children's clothing so they could learn to dress themselves at an earlier age. I remember as a pre-teen when my daddy bought his first pair of zipper-fly trousers. As time zipped by we now could scarcely function or attire ourselves without those rows of little metal or plastic teeth that open and close so many things for us on a daily basis.

How I regret the numerous occasions when I didn't use my mouth zipper and spoke impulsively with no regard for the consequences of my thoughtless words! I can't think of a single instance when I regretted waiting too long to weigh my words before I spoke. By delaying my verbal response to a situation I more often than not realized that I should continue to be silent and not speak at all. I was so thankful that I had zipped my lips.

My words are totally under my control. God gave me free will. I not only have the right to remain silent but God holds me responsible for careless words. That's a scary thought! When we let our words run from our lips unshackled, we are in danger of causing a mud slide. Once spoken, words can't be reeled in again.
King David in Psalm 39 said he kept his mouth shut especially when the ungodly were around, then spoke only when it was wise and appropriate. The control word he used was translated “muzzle."
Other verses speak of “bridling” our tongue as in directing a horse to obedience. I take both analogies to heart for myself.

I really do need to “lawyer up” even when I haven't committed a crime. God already appointed an Attorney for me, the Holy Spirit, who is “called alongside to help us.” A lawyer represents his client both in court and in giving advice in legal matters. He presents a client's case and protects his rights in order to obtain the best possible result. In court the lawyer stays by his side and instructs him when to speak and when to be silent, as the occasion may require. 
However, we must be willing to listen to our Heavenly Lawyer's gentle whisper and watch His Body language.

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