Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips
And from the deceitful tongue.
When I discovered that my friend had lied to me, had lied about something very important, I was stunned. I thought we could trust each other. I thought that in our relationship, what mattered was telling each other the truth, even when the truth might be uncomfortable or disconcerting. After all, we had known each other for so many years. There was so much water under the proverbial bridge.
And yet now, here was this lie. Uncovered and revealed.
At first I focused on my own hurt and sadness. How could she do this to me? How is it possible that our friendship apparently mattered so little? All those phone conversations, all those lunches, all those moments of shared life—tossed aside by a lie.
After some weeks, another friend asked, “Have you never lied?” Ouch. I didn’t want to look at that piece of it. I had never told a lie of this proportion, but I certainly could not say that I had never lied.
In the psalms we find various cautions about the “deceitful tongue”—an awareness that what we say, how we say it, and to whom we say it shapes our lives and our communities. We also find an invitation to keep silence as a part of daily spiritual practice, to listen to life, to pay attention.
That silence will allow us to speak more truthfully, more carefully, mindful that how we speak shapes our interactions with one another.
Grant me the care and the kindness to be gentle and true in my speaking and in my acting.
Copyright ©2006 Mary C. Earle.