“Here’s my life motto, the truth I live by:
I will guard my ways for all my days.
I will speak only what is right, guarding what I speak.
Like a watchman guards against an attack of the enemy,
I’ll guard and muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around me.
I will remain silent and will not grumble
Or speak out of my disappointment.”
After Jesus died, the people who followed him were in mourning. Some of them hid, some went on with the burial preparations, most scattered. I used to think about this one horrible weekend, his closest friends had to endure. The grief, the despair, the loneliness. It wasn’t until recently when I was reading through the gospels when I came upon the story of the two men who were walking along the path after Jesus rose from the dead. As they walked together they talked about the events of the crucifixion. They probably went over the gory details, reminded each other of the things they heard and saw. Then a stranger comes and walks with them. He asks them what they are discussing and the two men bring the stranger into the heartache of the brutal death of their friend.
When they were done, the stranger then begins to remind them of what Jesus had said. He said this would happen. He said he would die and come back so he could redeem His people. He told you He was coming back! It’s not till later in the afternoon that the disheartened and grieving men realize that the stranger is Jesus. After this realization, Jesus vanishes, leaving the men to ask themselves; “Why didn’t we recognize him?”
When I read this passage, I thought of David’s words in Psalm 39. “I will remain silent and will not grumble or speak out of my disappointment.” Luke 24 says Jesus says: “You seem in deep discussion about something. What are you talking about, so sad and gloomy?” His beloved disciples, in their hopelessness were engaging in a conversation so rooted in their disappointment and pain that they couldn’t even recognize Jesus. Their words were so powerful that they couldn’t hear the familiarity in his voice or feel the peace of his presence.
When we are in difficultly situations and our circumstance start to weigh down on us, we need to be mindful of our words. Like David, we need to be like watchmen over our mouths. It is better to be silent, than to speak a single word that is rooted in disappointment or hopelessness. When we grumble, or complain, or find ourselves always talking about our circumstances being too big, we run the risk of missing Jesus and what He is doing.
I urge you to guard your mouth. Are you speaking life or death into your life? Are you telling mountains to move, or are you building yourself a shack of complaints on the side? Your words are powerful. Invite the Holy Spirit into your vocabulary, into your conversations, into your facebook posts. Are your words and thoughts rooted in disappointment? Or are they rooted in the Hope of Jesus, our living hope? And sometimes you need to be ok with being quiet, allowing this verse from Psalm 39 to become a hopeful prayer:
“Lord, listen to all my tender cries.
Read my every tear like liquid words that plead for your help.
I feel alone at all times, like a stranger to you,
passing through this life just like all those before me.
Don’t let me die without restoring Joy and Gladness to my soul.
May your frown over my failure become a Smile over my success.”