Have you ever sent an email and suddenly realized it went to the wrong person or it contained harmful, harsh words? If only you could press a key and stop it. Well, now you can. Several companies offer a feature that gives you a brief time after sending an email to stop it from leaving your computer. After that, the email is like a spoken word that cannot be unsaid. Rather than being seen as a cure-all, an “unsend” feature should remind us that it’s extremely important to guard what we say.
In the apostle Peter’s first letter, he told the followers of Jesus, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing. . . . For, ‘whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it’ ” (1 Peter 3:9–11).
The psalmist David wrote, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3). That’s a great prayer for the beginning of each day and in every situation when we want to strike back with words.
Lord, guard our words today so we may not harm others by what we say.
Father, teach us first to guard our hearts so that we may guard our tongues. And help us, when we do say things we regret, to humbly apologize and seek forgiveness.
The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21
The apostle Peter may be one of the last people from whom we would expect counsel on bridling our tongues. He was the one to chastise Jesus and claim fidelity even if all others failed, and yet he later disowned Christ (Matt. 26:33, 69–75). He was the only disciple to resort to violence (v. 51; John 18:10–11), and yet he encouraged the mistreated and displaced not to return like for like (see 1 Peter 3:9). Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Peter finally understood the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38–44. Have you wished you could hit rewind and take back your words or actions? Is it comforting to know that just as Peter was changed, you too, through the Holy Spirit, can experience growth and change?