Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
In psalm 139 I mentioned how the Lord knew what I was going to say before I said it. I said it was a prime indicator of intimacy in relationship as my wife and I often know what the other one is going to say before they say it. In this psalm David is asking the Lord to set a guard over his mouth. In the midst of all his prayers for deliverance he is asking the Lord to watch over his words.
Our words are powerful and dangerous. On the one hand they can be so life giving and empowering and on the other hand they can kill, destroy and undermine those we speak to. The unfortunate thing about words is that once said we can’t take them back. I have been in so many mediation situations where one side is constantly banging on about “you said”. It doesn’t matter that the other person has said a hundred times that is not what I meant, the offended person will not let it go.
Our words are our responsibility. No one else can ask forgiveness for what we said. If it came off our lips, the apology has to come from there too. It is not pleasant to be involved in a conversation like this. We can undermine all the good we have built in relationships in seconds and it may take a long, long time to rebuild trust. I should know. I’ve done this. I’m particularly prone to saying the wrong thing when I am tired or when a subject that is a hot button for me comes up. I have also had to learn to apologize. Everything within me wants to blame the other person and to avoid my fault in the matter. It doesn’t help. Humility is the only option for amending the relationship.
Proverbs 17 says, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” How often I have wished I had kept silent. I have prayed psalm 141 verse 3 many times in my life. As I get older I am less and less prone to shooting off my mouth as I did when I was younger. But I suspect I will always have to pray for the Lord to put a guard over my mouth.
Prayer: “Lord, do put a guard watch over my mouth and close the door of my lips when I’m about to say something rash. Help me Lord to control my tongue as the book of James says so that only life will come from my lips in Jesus’ name. Amen!”