Several years ago, my children memorized this verse. It created a great picture in our minds of the importance of guarding our words towards each other. They drew pictures to illustrate this verse by drawing a picture of themselves with a door for a mouth. Some drew a big lock on the front of the door.
A guards' job is to only let in or out what is deemed appropriate, and that is what David is asking the Lord to do for him in this verse. Help him to speak only words that are pleasing to God, not to the ungodly.
I stood there with my mouth wide open, not believing I was looking at what I was really looking at. My son Josh had just cut a giant gash in the back of our leather sectional sofa! He was about 7 yrs old at the time. For a moment, I was speechless, but when that was over the words that came out were not good.
How could you do this?
What were you thinking?
What is wrong with you?
I just couldn't believe he had really cut this huge hole in the back of our sofa. When I finally stopped ranting & yelling, Josh told why he had done that. We had a new kitten. The kitten had crawled up into the sofa & was in the back of it. Josh thought it was stuck and would die if he didn't hurry up and get it out. So out of his passion & love for this tiny little kitten, he did the only thing he could think of, he cut the sofa open to rescue the kitten. Even though I didn't agree with his tactics, I understood why he did it. But the damage had already been done. Not the damage to the sofa, but the damage I caused on Josh's tender little spirit. My words cut deep into his heart, like his knife cut deep into the leather on my sofa. But unlike the sofa, his heart couldn't be sown back together.
I have learned that guarding my words is crucial if I am to build up and nurture the heart of my children. Something as simple as taking a breath or counting to 10 before I speak can make a huge difference.
Today, my prayer for myself is Psalm 141:3 as I try to focus on the excellent things my children do. I must guard my words so that only those that are truly good, edifying and right come out. Even in my correction of my children, my words must be full of grace and mercy. I am so thankful the Holy Spirit is available to help me do this or my efforts would all be in vain.
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