A WATCH ON THE DOOR OF THE LIPS
by Wayne S. Walker
“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). Who doesn’t have some kind of problem with the tongue? “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). To help me with this problem, Psalm 141:3 was one of those verses that I had circled and underlined in the Bible that I used when I was in my teenage and college years. There are so many ways that we can sin with the tongue so that we need the Lord to set a guard over our mouths.
In a world where the vast majority seem to think nothing of using cursing and profanity so that we hear it nearly every day, it is very easy to let this kind of language slip from our tongues. The phrase “O my God” is so ubiquitous that it even has its own keypad shorthand (OMG) and can be heard even on “family” television shows. God told Israel, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…” (Exodus 20:7), and there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that He has changed His mind. As I read and review children’s literature, I am amazed, and disgusted, at how many children’s authors feel that they must include the words “damn” and “hell” as interjections to make their books sound “realistic.” All it does is sound crude. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
Even if we refrain from blasphemous language to God, there is also the danger of speaking evil to others. “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:8-10). Yes, we should always speak the truth, but that should never be used as an excuse to speak in a rude, mean, or ugly way to anyone. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). Yes, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips!