Greek Triple jumper, Voula Papachristou tweeted herself right out of a spot in the 2012 Olympics in London. What she said was only 15 words long, followed by three exclamation points. But the racial overtones of her statement were enough to get her ousted from the games. At first she sloughed it off, but then she issued a series of apologies. None were enough to save her from being banned.
In the long ago, King David prayed, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3). This should be the daily prayer we all pray. With twitter, Facebook, and other social media proliferating our words, this prayer extends to the words we type as well as speak. We have become too comfortable with unguarded mouths and unwatched lips. The damage of that is immeasurable.
Please give me a mouth guard when teaching or preaching. May I give careful thought to say what is accurate and biblically true (cf. Js. 3:1). May I humbly correct (2 Tim. 2:25), preach with great patience (2 Tim. 4:2), and speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). May I neither add to nor take away from that Holy Word (cf. Rev. 22:18-19).
Please give me a mouth guard when speaking to the lost. May my speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6). May it be sound speech beyond reproach (Ti. 2:8), exemplary speech (1 Ti. 4:12), bold to share Jesus but gentle, patient, and kind (2 Ti. 2:24-26).
Please give me a mouth guard when speaking to other Christians. May my words sustain weary brethren (Isa. 50:4). May my words, filtered through thorough self-examination, gently restore the erring (Gal. 6:1). May it be what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Eph. 4:29). May I reprove and rebuke (2 Ti. 4:2), moved by transparent, known love and care (cf. 1 Pe. 2:17).
Please give me a mouth guard when speaking to my family. May I not treat them more harshly than I treat strangers, speaking cruel, bitter, or hateful words to them (cf. Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:19). May I not neglect to speak wholesome, encouraging words to them. May I shudder to neglect speaking constantly to them of spiritual things (Dt. 6:1-6).
Voula is paying for her reckless speech. My fervent prayer is that I may avoid that fate eternally. Jesus says our every word will be judged (Mt. 12:36-37). Lord, please give me a mouth guard!