‘I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue . . .’ (Psalms 39:1-3)
So often in scripture are we warned to guard our tongues: “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” (Psalms 34:13); “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3); “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26-27); “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” (1 Peter 3:10); etc.
But this is so hard to do! In fact, Psalms 39:3 tells us that when we try to muzzle our tongues we are miserable and our anger grows until we explode! “But when I was silent and still . . . my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue . . .”
But does it have to be this way? Does following what the Bible tells us to do have to make our “anguish increase”? I believe the key to this problem lies in the words that I purposefully left out when I rewrote the above text: “But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything
good . . .” We aren’t supposed to stop our mouths completely. Instead, we are to say only that which is good! In so doing, our anguish will not increase. Our hearts will not grow hot within, the fire will not burn, and we will be able to keep back the angry words we are tempted to say!
Lord, help me to bridle my tongue for the negative things, but instead to only speak out that which is good, true, holy, and acceptable to you!
In His love,