The First Rule of Holes

costa-mariner-598665-mBillie Burke, the famous actress, was enjoying a trans-Atlantic ocean trip when she noticed that a gentleman at the next table was suffering from a very bad cold.

“Are you very uncomfortable?” she asked sympathetically. The man nodded.

“I’ll tell you just what to do for it,” she offered.

“Go back to your stateroom, and drink lots of orange juice. Take five aspirin tablets. Cover yourself with all the blankets you can find. Sweat the cold out. I know just what I am talking about. I am Billie Burke of Hollywood.”

The man smiled warmly and introduced himself in return,

“Thanks. I am Dr. Mayo, of the Mayo Clinic.”1

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

His desire was that he be kept from saying anything improperly, rashly, or unadvisedly. He wanted God to guard him from saying anything foolish or embarrassing.

“Keep watch over the door of my lips” is a cry to not speak, except when it is proper or right.

In James 1:19, we are told, “Let every man be swift to hear, to be “slow to speak.”

The ancients have some sayings on this subject which are well worthy of our attention.“Keep watch over the door of my lips”

“Men have two ears, and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak.”

“The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper bounds.” 2

In the article, “You Said What: Tips to Get Out of Trouble,” Allan Mayer is quoted, advising, “Obey the first rule of holes. If you are in one, stop digging.” 3

 © 2015 D & L Publications, All rights reserved.


  1. Morris Mandel, A Complete Treasury Of Stories…, p. 208.
  2. Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes On The Old And New Testaments, James, Peter, John, And Jude, p.29.
  3. Holly Pevzner, “You Said What? Tips To Get Out Of Trouble,” The Suncoast News, USA Weekend, December 16 – 18, 2011, p. 6.