Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
- Psalm 19:14
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
- Matthew 12:36-37
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!
- every mother on the planet
Acceptable words. Careless words. Justifying words. Condemning words. Nice words. All of them words for which I will be required to give an account to The Word.
Words are scary things, even for someone who has been told "concision is not your strong point," for someone who writes and blogs and speaks SO MANY WORDS.
Sometimes, when I resolve to keep silent, I experience "a burning fire shut up in my bones." Like Jeremiah, I grow weary of holding the words in, and find that I cannot.
Other times, like Job, I am compelled to lay my hand over my mouth, to say no more.
Whether compelled to speak or to stay silent, I tremble, because Scripture teaches me that God takes words very seriously, both those spoken and those unspoken. All of them.
Psalm 19, which concludes with David's prayer for acceptable words, begins with a meditation on the glory of God. From there, David moves into a meditation on the goodness and perfection of God's Law. Next, David asks God to keep him from sin. Finally, David prays that God will guard his thoughts and his words and make them acceptable.
Do I earnestly desire for my thoughts and words to be acceptable to God? Do I want my words to be a testimony to the security that is mine in Christ, rather than a record condemning an unregenerate, unrepentant heart? How can I more consistently speak and write words that are true, God-honoring, and life-giving?
Like David, I must begin at the feet of God, worshiping his glory and majesty and goodness. Like David, I must feed regularly on the sweet honey of God's Law. Like David, I must ask God to expose my sin, and I must rely on Christ to cover my sin and sanctify me.
Then, like David, I can pray that my thoughts and my words be acceptable to God - pray with confidence that God will hear and answer.