Guard Your Tongue
Monday, April 27, 2015
Psalms 17:3 Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.
Will Rogers once said, “So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip.”
In today’s Psalm, King David reveals his desire to guard his tongue and make sure his mouth doesn’t sin by speaking words that would reveal a selfish intent in his heart. As I journeyed through this Psalm, I returned to this not-so-scenic overlook. When I pulled into a parking place and started to look around, I saw nothing but desolation and destruction caused by words. I saw the pain and agony that my words – and your words – have caused in the lives of others. I saw the sin of speaking the words of man and not the words of God.
What do we talk about behind closed doors and behind people’s backs? When God probes our hearts and examines our thoughts, what does He find? Has He found purity and integrity in our words, or does He see us serving and satisfying self with what we say to and about others?
I wonder what the world would be like if all of us as God’s children would claim this verse as truth and put it into practice in our own lives? Wouldn’t it be the purest and most perfect prelude to heaven? Have we resolved to never sin with our mouths? Imagine the immensity of the spiritual harvest the church would experience if its people were practicing this principle.
- Grace would conquer gossip.
- Holiness would overcome hearsay.
- Love would eliminate libel.
- Reconciliation would reign rather than rumors running rampant.
- Speech that strengthens and supports would supersede slander and scandal.
- Joy would overflow where jeering and jealousy were common.
If only we would join the Psalmist in declaring that our mouths will not sin.
I believe that one key to taming the tongue is to evaluate what we are listening to. Someone once said, “It isn’t the things that go in one ear and out the other that hurt as much as the things that go in one ear, get all mixed up, and then slip out the mouth.” Are we tuned in to what God is saying to us or are we tuned in to what our flesh wants and needs?
In verse four of today’s Psalm David says, by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. He was listening to what God was saying rather than what people were saying. Let me illustrate:
A naturalist, walking with his friend through the busy streets of New York, stopped suddenly and asked, “Do you hear a cricket?” “Of course not,” laughed his friend. “You could never hear a cricket with all this roar of traffic.” “But I hear a cricket,” persisted the naturalist, and turning over a stone, he uncovered the insect. “Did you actually hear the cricket chirping above the noise of the street?” asked his friend in astonishment. “Certainly,” said the naturalist. “I spend my time listening to nature, whether I am in the forest, the field, or the town. Everyone hears what he listens for. Watch.” Taking a coin from his pocket, he dropped it on the pavement, and each passer-by put his hand in his pocket to see if he was the one who had dropped it and began looking for the coin on the ground. “You can tell what is on people’s minds by what they hear and repeat,” he said. “Obviously money is important to these people, because it’s what they heard.”
What a lesson! If we are listening for the truth—for that which is stimulating, elevating, and inspiring, then we will hear it, even above the noise and bustle of this busy world, and above the roar of lies, tattling or gossip so commonly heard by many. And if our ears are attuned to scandal, backbiting and false reports, we will hear that, regardless of how loudly the principles of love, justice and truth may be proclaimed in our direction.
And what we choose to hear is what we will choose as the subject of our conversation.
Let us resolve to never sin with our mouths by listening intently to the things of God. And when He probes our hearts and examines us, may He find nothing sinful in us.