“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
I was having an ordinary moment with a family member the other day when he alerted me I’d crossed a line. The rebuke was so gentle that the sting mirrored it. I hadn’t meant to hurt or offend, and I rushed to say so. “I know you didn’t,” was the loving reply. I offered an apology, and his gracious acceptance gave the incident a peaceful burial.
Upon reflection, two thoughts have sprung from those few uncomfortable moments.
First, sometimes it’s not what we say, but how we say it that’s wrong. Frustration or anger have a way of turning the most benign words into weapons. I thought back to a few other things I’d said in recent days that I could have delivered with more sensitivity. (Forgive me, Lord.)
Second, oftentimes people don’t tell us that we’ve hurt them, but it doesn’t mean we’re not guilty. Sometimes only the Holy Spirit makes us aware of what we’ve done. I’ve tried to duck the conviction because no one actually said anything, but no, I can’t use that as an excuse. If ever my words could have had a gentler expression, to that degree I am guilty of harshness to the delicate and unseen part of the recipient’s emotions. It is not the way of Christ, and I want to be like Him.
If this is your heart’s desire too, may we pray this together:
Dear God, make my mouth an instrument of love, not of hurt. I ask that your spirit change my heart so that gentleness flows from my lips. Let meekness control my tongue so that it takes the time to construct the best words to say in the best way. Amen!