I had a moral theology professor who loved this Latin proverb, Aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio, “Be silent or say something better than silence.” His conviction was that among the greatest obstacles to living a full Christian life was the thoughtless use of the tongue, and that language, because it was among the highest expressions of the divine image in us, would stand under the severest scrutiny before God’s eternal Word-made-tongue on Judgment Day.
St. John of the Cross said, “We could make much progress toward perfection if we would simply exercise greater care over our words by saying, as the Apostle Paul commands us, only those things that edify.”
St. James, likewise, said, “The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna.”
And Jesus, author and perfecter of all saints, said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak.”