Words of Worth

August 12, 2011

Last October, we posted a blog that told the tale of the three gatekeepers. We often share this story when we are speaking and it is also included in our book, Word Wise. That particular illustration seems to impact people in a powerful way. Just last Sunday while visiting with a group of ladies we haven’t seen in almost a year, one of them remarked, “I think about the gatekeepers every day. That story changed the way I speak to others.” Since that first blog was published, we have examined each question individually and have written about each concept in depth. We hope you will enjoy this “series” of teaching. We have found these precepts linked with the Word of God to be life changing. Because words matter and God’s Word matters most.

“The Gatekeepers”

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Psalm 141:3

A watchman over the door of our lips is powerful imagery and there’s an ancient Arab proverb that illustrates this verse perfectly. It begins with this statement: “The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers. What a visual! I immediately imagined three gates all in a row with very serious looking guards monitoring each one. The storyteller goes on: “Before a word can get past the lips, the first gatekeeper asks, “Is this true?

A very good beginning and a question that begs yet another question. How much of what we carelessly say is true? Do we really stop (as if by a gatekeeper) and think about what we are saying? Is it true? Or is it something we heard someone else say? Or is it just someone’s opinion? Ok…get serious, is it a dressed up lie?
See, wise words are true words.

If the first word or statement gets past that gatekeeper, there is a second guard who asks, “Is it kind?” A simple thought and yet it is so profound. When an older pastor was asked, “How can I live a good Christian life? he answered, “Be ye kind, one to another – once you get that command down, come back and I’ll give you the next one.” How many of us would make a second trip to this wise man? Think about the words you say…. Are they kind?
Wise words are also kind words.

And for those words that qualify as true and kind, the third gatekeeper asks the final question, “Is it necessary?” Ouch. We may able to work our way around true and rationalize the term kind, but it is very difficult to make something necessary when it’s not. How many words would make their way past the gatekeepers if they were truly necessary? Wise words are necessary and we all have great need to hear them.


Three gatekeepers for the mouth that indicate the status of the heart and Jesus was more than clear about our hearts in His teaching.

“The good man out of the good treasure (storehouse) of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 8:56

If we employed these three gatekeepers, would we gossip? Would we complain? Would we quickly offer our thoughts without regard to someone else’s feelings? Perhaps we would be well served to appoint ourselves these gatekeepers. Over the next three weeks we will look at each one of them individually and see how ALL our words can become wise ones.

“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

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