I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
The psalmist, here it is likely David or someone writing in his name, models for us critical reflection on the words that come from our mouths. Today’s text shows us the recognition that our words carry weight and meaning; our tongues are capable of sin. The old adage is “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The psalmist shows us that is far from truth. Words have the potential to hurt not only the one speaking them but many others. So the psalmist encourages hearers to reflect on the ways that our words carry weight. Common knowledge among psychologists is the fact that negative words stick like velcro and positive, affirming words take longer to integrate into the lives of the hearer. Our gratitude takes longer to integrate into our hearts and minds, while our complaints stick like velcro to anyone who hears them. As a result, we need to spend more intentional time reflecting on the positive words that come from our mouths and those that come through our ears. As we seek to develop a spirit of gratitude this Lent and beyond, it is important for us to reflect on the weight of our words. Take time today to think carefully about the words that come from your mouth and reflect on how they will affect those around you. Will they be negative and stick like velcro? How can you take more time to reflect on the words of affirmation, gratitude, and love in your life?