Set a Watch

When we speak, we have a reason for doing so, a goal, a motive. We’ll be judged by what we say, and for why we say it, so we should be careful whenever our mouth is open, and set up a kind of gate keeper, a watch, a guard, to check every syllable coming out. (Ps 141:3) What should we be checking for?

First, is what we’re saying true? Is it aligned with reality, as best we know? If it isn’t, we shouldn’t say it; only speak truth. (Pr 8:7) Lying isn’t an option. (Ps 119:163)

Yet even if something’s true, that doesn’t mean we should say it. (Jn 16:12) We need to be thinking about our audience, and considering how our words will impact them. Speaking truth is insufficient in itself; we must speak the truth in love. (Ep 4:15)

We should speak to heal and build up (Ro 14:19), and this requires discernment. (Pr 15:28) Pushing truth on those who aren’t willing to obey deepens their condemnation (2Pe 2:21), and there are deeper truths that only the mature can digest. (1Co 3:2)

How often am I trying to impress someone, showing off? or just thinking out loud, sorting through my own confusion, and simply filling the air with my words? or trying to manipulate someone into doing what I want, focused inward, on myself? Am I ever actually trying to harm someone? (Pr 12:18)

Do I listen to others, trying to understand where they’re coming from? How can I edify you if I don’t know you, without any sense of what you’re struggling with, where you’ve been wounded, how you’ve been lied to?

We’re doctors in a pandemic, amid the sick and dying. We have a cure, a balm, a surgical knife, but most folk don’t want to be well, only to be at ease in their diseases. (Jn 3:19) We can only help those who sense their need and want to be whole (Mk 2:17), and even these we cannot rightly help unless we understand their need. We must ask and listen, observe and ponder, diagnosing our patient first. (Php 2:4) What does the Great Physician in us see? What do we we see Him doing?

Pray before speaking (Ja 1:19); let God Himself be the watchman of our lips. (Ps 19:14)

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4 thoughts on “Set a Watch”

  1. Right as I was notified of this post; I was reading proverbs 15:28

    The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth if the wicked fourth out evil things.

    For most of my life I’ve often rambled my thoughts at people without much discernment but recently I’ve been fairly silent, much to the concern of those close to me. I know as I am blessed with more wisdom and greater discernment, I will be able to speak boldly in truth. In the meantime, I’ve learned the value of silence thanks to fear of the Lord.

    Great post brother, God Bless

    1. You’re quick!! I’m still trying to clean this up. 🙂
      Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you’re doing well.

  2. To know if you’re listening, especially in an argument or debate, see if you can summarize what the other person is saying — to their own satisfaction — before replying. This is the ultimate test of the listening ear. Sometimes, people in pain just want to be heard, and that is sufficient.

  3. Tim,

    Thanks for the post!

    To “bite” the tongue 🙂 can be interesting in group meetings. It can be a good practice, and one is often blessed with understanding you would not have had if you had become a bigger part of the conversation.

    I like the following paragraph:

    Do I listen to others, trying to understand where they’re coming from? How can I edify you if I don’t know you, without any sense of what you’re struggling with, where you’ve been wounded, how you’ve been lied to?

    stephen

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