A house near us has a sign in the front yard: “This property is lined with an invisible fence”. One day, I witnessed the power of the invisible fence. Bo, our dog, and I were strolling down the street when a big dog came bounding across a yard, heading right for us. The hair on Bo’s back stood straight up and she positioned herself for battle. I desperately held on to the leash, trying to avoid a dog fight that Bo was certain to lose.
Then, much to our surprise, the other dog stopped short, let out a yelp and sat down on the edge of the lawn. We hustled past, both Bo and I, with hearts racing. I thought, “I need to get myself one of those things.” But I didn’t have my dog in mind. I was thinking it might come in handy for me.
Sometimes I wish I had an invisible fence……. for my mouth — some kind of system that would give me a little jolt when I am about to say something insensitive. I could really use a sharp jab when sarcasm is preparing to spew or when a negative comment is threatening to erupt. I would gladly accept momentary discomfort if I knew it would keep me from uttering regrettable words.
Such a fence has potential, not just for what comes out of my mouth, but also for what goes in. For instance, a slight buzz when I’m standing in the kitchen gazing at the almond poundcake might be enough to make me grab a carrot instead. The Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars might lose their allure if I know a zap is coming with the first bite.
Perhaps the Psalmist was wishing for an invisible fence when he wrote,
“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3