Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Psalm 141:3 (ESV)
I noticed Something the other day as I was scanning through posts on a pregnancy forum. This Something really bothered me, in a way that it would not at all have just a few months ago, and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve been convicted that I’ve said similar things many, many times without even thinking.
So what was this upsetting Something?
It was just a simple statement- “I’m SO TIRED of being pregnant!” I know this is understandable and relatable to so many pregnant women (including close friends, as well as myself at times), but I wanted to yell back at the screen, “HOW can you say that when I’m trying SO HARD just to stay pregnant a little bit longer? Do you know how BLESSED you are to be (however-many, full-term) weeks?” My perspective on pregnancy has changed so completely from what it was a few weeks ago, a few months ago, a few years ago.
Let me be clear for a moment, though: it isn’t that I think it is wrong to make comments like that one from some random stranger. I think that frustrations like that are real and legitimate, and if we bottled all of them up and never shared them with anyone, we would be very unhealthy people.
However, I also think that there are places to vent those frustrations (or joys!) that are wiser than others. For example, the best person to whom to gush your joyful raptures about your pregnancy is likely not the woman who is struggling with infertility or the couple who just miscarried. This isn’t limited to pregnancy, either. Griping about your irritating job/boss/coworker to someone desperately seeking any employment can be callous and unloving. I don’t say this to rain down guilt, but because I stand (Well, lay. Still on bed rest.) personally convicted of the hundred thousand ways I am unwise in my own speech, and it took the pain of someone else’s unintentionally hurtful words to make it clear to me.
There is a lot more to wise speech than avoiding gossip, or never cursing, or always remembering “please” and “thank you”. So much of wisdom is timing and audience. It is healthy and good for me to not store up all of my discouragements and irritations and bad days, as long as I am wise about with whom I’m sharing them. Can we always know who our words will unintentionally wound? No. Should we avoid saying anything at all, to protect the possible sensitivites of everyone we ever meet? No. But we should be wise with our mouths, mature in our discernment, and gentle in our speech.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
I pray that the words I write on this site are an encouragement and not a detriment; that they build up, not tear down; that they are seasoned with grace and love, not barbs and daggers. A few fantastic, short verses to meditate on:
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
Psalm 37:30 (ESV)