Set a guard over my mouth, LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
One of the worst idioms to ever prance down the pike is: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me".It's just not true. Sure, some people have thicker skins than others and can hit that nasty name, the unfair criticism, or that insidious rumor out of their ballpark with panache. And, if the source of the insult is not from a friend or a loved one, I daresay that most of us, though temporarily hurt, are able to eventually let it go. It is the harsh word from parent to child, the angry accusations by a spouse, the gossip initiated in the office by a trusted co-worker, the falsehoods perpetuated by someone regarded as a best friend - these cut to the quick, wounding us gravely; some leave scars that never heal.
On the flip side of the coin, the most reliable adage with regard to the door of our lips is one I learned at my mother's knee: If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all". That is not to imply it is never alright to offer correction or chastisement when called for; it is what we say and how we say it that matters. We need to think, sometimes long and hard, before we loosen our tongues. The reality is, once the words are spoken, we can't take them back. There is no magic eraser to remove them from the ears, the minds, or hearts of the people who hear them.
Do you have trouble guarding your wayward mouth? Ask the Lord to set His faithful watch over your tongue. Forgive yourself for past transgressions. Are you a victim of gossip, slander, ruthless criticism, hateful insults? Ask God to give you comfort and pray for those persons afflicting you. Forgive them and sail onward, assured that loose lips cannot sink your ship.
Psalms 140, 142 or 141:1-11 (12)
1 Samuel 13:10-14:15
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