Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Shut my mouth – again

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. - Psalm 141v3

I shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible warns me about it, but the thing that gets me into far more trouble than anything else is my mouth. I am not alone, I guess, since the Bible addresses it so often. James even tells us that our speech is a true test of spirituality.

Remember what James says about tongue trouble?

It causes great trouble. It is a fire of sin. It defiles the whole body. The fire it spreads starts in hell itself. It is untameable. It is an unruly evil. It is full of deadly poison. With the same mouth we bless God and curse men.

And it summary, as the wonderful old Kings James translation puts it – ‘these things ought not so to be.’

I for one can attest to the impact of my own words. I have spouted off and started fires far too often. How many times have I said something and then regretted it immediately?

It is interesting that the psalmist knew the realities that James wrote about long before James wrote them. He prayed a prayer that I need far more often – ‘Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.

My mouth certainly needs a doorkeeper. I don’t do a very good job of keeping it myself. I should not be shocked; James wrote that no man can tame the tongue. That is why the psalmist knew he needed God’s help. That is why he asked God for help.

How about this simple prayer? ‘Lord, help me keep my big mouth shut!’

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