‘I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”'[vs.1]

strong opening line and one we could all learn from, which James picks up and runs with in chapter 3.1-12 which includes these warnings:

‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.’ [James 3.9-12]

as we read the psalm further, we see david can’t stay silent, but the idea of not rushing in with your mouth [yeah, yeah, i can still learn lots here sometimes, i didn’t say these weren’t addressed directly at me] is a good and wise one. the tongue can be such a destructive force and there is no UNDO button to save and make it as if it never happened – trust can be rebuilt [usually S-L-O-W-L-Y] but said things can not be unsaid and have a habit of being brought back to the surface with the littlest encouragement.

another idea behind the need to ‘put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked’ might be because bad talk can be contagious. when someone else starts gossiping or speaking bad about someone who is not around, the huge tendency and temptation is to use that as an opportunity to get all my built up irritation/frustration with that person or their actions out and before you know it the reputation of that person is lying pierced and bleeding on the floor in front of us, with no means of defence…

so i should always watch my tongue, but ESPECIALLY when i am in the company of others who are more likely to speak badly so that i won’t be caught up in it.

there is a lot more in this psalm and i would love to hear a thought that stood out for you in the comments section, but i think with the emphasis that James and others puts on the tongue, that it is worth just stopping for a moment and really letting this sink in, and maybe making a decision to take longer to speak and especially be careful of anything said about someone who is not in the room…

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

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