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In a world filled with noise, where words are often spoken without consideration of their impact, the wisdom of ancient scriptures offers us timeless guidance. Psalm 141:3 resonates with a profound truth that transcends time and culture: “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

In this fast-paced digital age, where our words can travel across the globe in an instant, the importance of mindful speech cannot be overstated. This verse from the Psalms serves as a reminder of the power and responsibility we hold in the words we choose to use.

Join us on a journey of reflection and exploration as we delve into the depths of Psalm 141:3. Together, let’s uncover the significance of setting a guard over our mouths and the transformative impact it can have on our lives and the world around us.

When to Speak

So how are we to speak?

  • Gently – 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to “give an answer to those who ask,” to do it with gentleness and respect, and to keep a clear conscience. Our goal is “to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2).
  • Graciously – Colossians 4:6 instructs us: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
  • Boldly – Just as Paul asked the church in Ephesus to pray for his boldness (Ephesians 6:18-20), so we should ask the Lord that “words may be given to [us] in opening [our] mouths boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which [we are] ambassadors in chains, that [we] may declare it boldly, as [we] ought to speak.”

And what do we speak of?

  • Truth—We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and put away falsehood (Ephesians 4:25). We are to speak the truth in Christ and not lie (Romans 9:1). When we speak in godly clarity and truth, we are teaching and admonishing one another with wisdom (Colossians 3:16).
  • The Gospel—Jesus’ last commandment to His disciples was to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and it shouldn’t be overlooked that these were some of His last words.

When Not to Speak

So when is silence best and beneficial?

  • Moments of anger: James 1:19 instructs us: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” When we are angry, the Holy Spirit is unlikely to produce our words.
  • Avoidance of sin – Proverbs 10:19 tells us: “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” Scripture also tells us that silence can help us gain respect (Proverbs 11:12) and is deemed wise and intelligent (Proverbs 17:28). In other words, you may be blessed by holding your tongue.
  • Maintaining self-control – Refraining from speaking in certain situations means practicing self-control. And we know that self-control, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), is a discipline that is blessed.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us there is “a time to speak and a time to be silent.” Let’s prepare now for those moments when our tongues are ready for action by memorizing scriptures like Titus 3:2 and James 1:19.

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