Set a guard, Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. – Psalms 141:3
Let’s admit it, sometimes we just need to keep our mouths shut. Instead of “thinking by talking,” it would be more prudent to “think while (or even before) talking.”
As one who used to speak thousands of words publicly each and every week, I made a few (?) mistakes, none of which will be recorded here! Frankly, I expected to err from time to time in the act of public speaking, but I came to understand that it was the words I spoke (or emailed) in a private conversation that could cause the most trouble. Saying the wrong thing, or even saying the right thing to the wrong person, could be at best damaging and at worst disastrous.
To limit these errors in judgment, I sought to employ this rule, “When in doubt, just shut up!” By and large, it has worked (though still not as often as I would have liked). Better yet, if we would all pray the prayer above (Lord, set a guard over my mouth) and listen to the Holy Spirit, then our verbal mistakes (and offenses) would lessen considerably.
These are “venomous” times, aren’t they? Be it a conversation or just a post to social media, Lord help us shut the door on harmful speech.
If your lips would keep from slips, five things observe with care: of whom you speak, to whom you speak, and how and when and where. – Anonymous