1I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” 2But as I stood there in silence—not even speaking of good things—the turmoil within me grew worse. 3The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words:

Psalm 39:1-3

There is a way that seems guaranteed to avoid sinning with my words — don’t say anything! I have, at various times, pledged I would not speak a single word in a gathering to avoid saying the wrong thing. Perhaps you have too.

It doesn’t work. No sooner am I settled in the social setting, I hear a statement requiring a response. At least by my calculations. My resolve goes out the window and the words come flying out.

Perhaps there is a better way!

3Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. 4Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong.

Psalm 141:3-4

Both of these psalms are written by David, but his approach is polar opposite. His first tactic depended on himself. He would watch what he said and avoid using words harmfully. That didn’t work.

Along the way he must have learned that only God can tame the tongue. So he approaches it differently, depending upon God to guard his lips.

How about you? Are your words getting away from you? Do you resolve to control what you say with little to no success? Consider asking the Lord to guard your words — he’s an excellent gatekeeper!

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