Response : Thou high and holy One, who shall be permitted to have fellowship with Thee?
– Those whose tongue utters no slander
– who does no wrong to a neighbor,
– and casts no slur on others.
After the positive in verses one and two, comes the negative. “Those whose tongue utters no slander.” There is a sinful way of backbiting with the heart when we think too hardly of a neighbour, but it is the tongue which does the mischief. Some men’s tongues bite more than their teeth.
– The tongue is not steel, but it cuts, and it’s wounds are very hard to heal;
– its worst wounds are not with its edge to our face, but with its back when our head is turned. All slanderers are the devil’s bellows to blow up contention, but those are the worst which blow at the back of the fire.
“who does no wrong to a neighbor.” He who bridles his tongue will not give a licence to his hand. Loving our neighbour as ourselves will make us jealous of his good name, careful not to injure his estate, or by ill example to corrupt his character.
“Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.” He is a fool if not a knave who picks up stolen goods and harbours them; in slander as well as robbery, the receiver is as bad as the thief. Trapp says, that “the tale-bearer carrieth the devil in his tongue, and the tale-hearer carries the devil in his ear.” It is a sin to endure or tolerate tale-bearers. How much is the mischief of the tale-bearers’ insinuating story? Do we feel indignation when we hear a gossip at her work? Is there a Mad dog! bite that is so dangerous as a busybody’s tongue? The tale-bearer’s tongue is set on fire of hell, and those who indulge it had better mend their manners, or they may find that there is fire in hell for unbridled tongues. Our Lord spake evil of no man, but breathed a prayer for his foes; we must be like him, or we shall never be with him.
Lord, I dedicate my tongue to You. Bridle it Lord and let me speak words of peace rather than wrath, reconcile rather than cause dissension, speak truth rather than lies. Lord, be my Lord even in my speech, I pray. Let me hear Your Voice and follow You even in my speech. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.