Psalm 141:3–4 3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!
Yes, there are environments where we need to exercise caution in what we say. But if we have to cover our desire to be negative, critical, deceitful, or crass with some people and give full vent to these desires with others, this indicates our hearts and our relationships are wrong and sinful.
The detrimental words that come out of our mouths are revealing. What they expose is the pollution of sin and selfishness. If we nurture sin and selfishness within, it is only a matter of time before we verbalize them in some unhelpful and unholy way. What we think and who we are will eventually become evident. Who we share them with and what they say when we share them are revealing as well.
The prayer David offers, recorded in Psalm 141, is a request that followers of Jesus should make. Why? Because what you say with your mouths is a revelation of what’s going on in your heart and your life. If you recognize you are prone to say things you shouldn’t (i.e. deceit, lies, coarse language, condemnation, slander, anger, rage, etc.), your words are revealing substantive issues of the heart. What you say when the pressure is on may not be a lapse in judgment; it may be the coming out of the real you.
Asking the Lord to guard your mouth and watch your lips is a request of God to purify your heart, by redirecting your thinking and possibly changing the people with whom you hang out. Regarding the exposure of one’s inner condition, Jesus said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) Concerning the importance of godly relationships, the Apostle Paul says, “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Your inappropriate conversation and conduct make it apparent you are not influencing them for good; you are influencing them and they are affecting you for evil.
If your conversations and communications are departing the pathway of truth and righteousness, it’s time to get serious with God in prayer. Ask Him to change you within and without – the mediations of your heart (“within”) and the company you keep (“without”).