Psalm 64 Whether a child or an adult, we are easily hurt by another’s words, which aim at the heart. We quote this ditty when challenged: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” But we know that is not true. Words hurt or words edify. David knew this all too well as he notes that his enemy ‘sharpens their tongues like swords; they aim their arrows, a slanderous charge.’
Words either edify or tear down. Words lift, and praise or words seek to destroy. Jesus said that the things that come out of the mouth originate in the heart. James reminds us that our tongue cannot be subdued; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless the Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people made in God’s image. Men face this problem. Perhaps that is why David challenged himself with these words: I will put a muzzle over my mouth, and again I will watch what I say for once words are said, they cannot be retrieved. But, also like David, we become impatient, wanting to speak our minds.
We would do well to memorize and apply Ephesians 4:29 “You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it would give grace to those who hear.”