“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds…” (Psalm 141:3-4a ESV) and “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it….”(Psalm 141:5a ESV) and “With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.” (Psalm 142:1-2 ESV) and “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! (Psalm 143:8-10a ESV)
Concerning sin, what is my primary tool besides my mind? It is my mouth. David identifies a number of things through these 3 Psalms and a bunch of them has to do with the spoken word by us. David also declares that it isn’t a matter of discipline of the tongue; it is my heart, my soul that needs the Mercy of God. And sometimes it is Mercy exercised by a blunt brother…
I think that every year I need to go through a month or so of reminding myself of the power of the tongue. James says a lot about this. Proverbs even more. It is everywhere in the Bible. My issue is that like a lot of things I gloss over really getting into the discipline of my Mouth. James talks about salt and fresh water coming out of my mouth; praise and curse. I would like to think “Not me!” but I know that isn’t true. All it takes is a little nudge, a provocation (real or imagined); a switch in my heart that wants to pompously spew out “self” of some kind. My heart (and mouth—you know that they are irrevocably intertwined, right?) can be an attack dog in a matter of micro seconds; calm and docile one moment—snarling and biting and with unregretful anger the next. In Ps 141 David wants a guard, a muzzle on his mouth and then understands that the mouth is an outlet for a wicked heart. He also looks for the Help of God in the presence of a blunt, straight talking brother (or sister). Ps 142 says cry out to God and plead…How many issues do I take to God pleading in prayer and instead go to another for “council”? Ps 143 indicate the objectives to wait upon Him every morning; to hear of the way to go—the cry: “Teach me to do Your Will, O God!” Note: BTW, I am not saying that you shouldn’t talk to another person about stuff—just don’t neglect your prayers.
O Lord my God: Seems like one step forward and twenty steps back at times. Holidays can bring out the worse in me. I purse my lips, I clinch my jaw, and I don’t relax like I should— and when the cork pops horrible stuff spews out. And if it doesn’t pop, then I feel my heart compounding sin after hateful sin. I am burying my head in my hands; I am feeling the despair enveloping my heart. I cry, I plead for mercy after grateful mercy to fall on my heart from Your Hands, O Lord. Envelope me in Your Arms; deliver me from wickedness. Help me to have courage to come before You and to the one I offend.