May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Hey, remember that thing you said when you were angry, scared, or hungry? Remember how it caused someone to recoil in hurt? Honestly, you probably don’t, but I can guarantee they remember it.
The Scriptures have a LOT to say about what we say. The ninth commandment forbids giving “false testimony against a neighbor.” The third command forbids using the Lord’s name in vain. The collection of Proverbs is littered with warnings about how and when to speak. Jesus warned against making promises we can’t keep. His brother James called the tongue a “restless evil, full of deadly poison…set on fire by hell…unable to be tamed.” He condemns cursing and insulting our brother/sister while also trying to praise God.
Long story short, our tongues get us into loads of trouble. Words can destroy lives, cause wars, or derail someone’s faith. Words are precious. Once spoken, they can never be unsaid. Jesus cautioned his disciples, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Recently a former youth pastor was announcing at a basketball game when he made profanity-laced racist comments, thinking his mic was off. In his apology letter, he denied being “racist.” But guess what – those words came from somewhere. If you say racist things, according to Jesus, you harbor racism in your heart.
That’s why today’s verse is a critical prayer for God’s people. Psalm 19 is one of my favorites. The writer hear’s God’s powerful voice in all that he created. He hear’s God’s loving voice in all of God’s commands. Now he brings it down to a personal level.
May my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you.
In other words, God speaks through creation. God speaks through his Law. Now may God speak through me, too.
1 Peter 4 echoes this idea: If anyone speaks, they should speak as if they are uttering the very oracles of God.
When we curse or insult others, it’s not a slip up, it’s not an accident. We can’t claim not to know where that came from. We must guard our hearts and our mouths. Psalm 19:14 reminds us that our goal is to bring honor to God, especially with our words.