Oh Lord, let my words be pleasing to you.
Imagine if you will, you are a newly hired travel guide in the desert. You position yourself at a fork in the road, where travelers have a clear choice to go in one direction or another. Two choices: to speak life or death (according to Proverbs 18:21). You are happy in your new role as travel guide. You make conversation with the caravans as they pass, greeting them, and telling them to “be blessed” and “be well” and “God bless you.” You tell caravan after caravan to “turn right onto the path of righteousness and truth, life and light.” Turn right. Turn right. Turn right.
After a while of standing in the hot desert sun you become thirsty. The next caravan draws near and you shorten your pleasantries, simply saying “Right,” and point in the direction the travelers should go. You ask them for water as they pass, but they have none to spare.
Time passes. The road is empty of travelers. You grow weary. You’ve not had a drink in far too long. You grow angry. “Why won’t someone bring me water,” you think to yourself. Night falls and morning rises. No travelers.
Time passes. On the horizon, you see a caravan. You are beyond weary. You’ve had no fulfillment of bread or water. You are grumpy, beaten down, confused by the enemy. The caravan grows closer and closer still. You ask if they have water, but they have none to spare. Out of spite, you tell them to “Turn left,” even though you know that path leads to destruction, unhappiness, darkness, and death. You don’t care. It’s not really your problem. They still could have chosen to “Turn to the right.”
Isn’t it easy to get sucked into negative things we can do with our words? Take for instance – in our modern world- gossiping, lying, name-calling, sarcastic “joking,” and disrespect. The Bible tells us “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21 That means all of those things we dismiss as “no big deal” are actually a very big deal. If our words do not invite the light of Christ to permeate the atmosphere, then we are not speaking life.
Imagine what our workplace, families, and Bible study groups would be like if we spoke life into people instead of death? What if we complimented instead of judged? What if we encouraged instead of criticized? “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.” Psalm 37:30
What if, instead of complaining to God, we praised Him? “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Oh Lord, I pray that our words reflect your light and glory. Let us choose to speak life, and not death. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord: keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3