“Curse not the king, no not in your thought. And curse not the rich in your bedchamber—for a bird of the air shall carry the voice and that which has wings shall tell the matter.”

Ecclesiastes 10:20

As someone once said, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.”
While that sounds well enough, most likely, all of us know how difficult that is. Self-centered pride is an inherent part of our Adamic natures—as is the “sharper than a two-edged sword,” loose-on-both-ends tongue.

Even if a person is an introvert by nature. . .soft-spoken. . .more apt to listen than speak (usually for fear of saying the wrong thing or being embarrassed). . .the fact remains that ALL of us have “unruly tongues that are full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Like a poisonous snake, whose poison sacs lie hidden from view in its mouth, so do the tongue’s roots lie within one’s heart. And, if there be a “bitter root there, many folks will be adversely affected by it” (Heb. 12:15) through critical or caustic words. . .backbiting. . .slander. . .sarcasm. . .lies, etc.

Today’s Manna also reminds us of the importance of keeping our thoughts and words primarily to ourselves. Even though what we’re thinking is insightful and right-on-target—and even if our suggestions might make things better—quite often those hearing them will not appreciate them; in fact, as Solomon said, “He that passes by and meddles in strife not belonging to him is like the one who takes a dog by the ears” (Prov. 26:17).

Or, you’ll regret you tried to intervene—for, so often, like the Israelites who were feuding and Moses tried to mediate (Ex. 2:11-14), they’ll “cloud up and rain all over you,” making you wish you’d kept your mouth shut!

Likewise, quite often we talk about others when they’re not around. Our intentions may seem noble—i.e., born out of concern—but, the fact remains that this is still most likely gossip, especially when our words are critical or judgmental. And, even if we’re talking to a “trusted” friend, don’t be surprised if the one being talked about will soon hear about what’s been said and grow angry.

As someone once said, “Three people can keep a secret—so long as two of them are dead!”
So true, so true.
Perhaps that’s why the old Gospel songwriter wrote “Are you weary, are you heavy-hearted, Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus alone.” He knows our deepest hurts and sorrows. He knows those hateful words and deeds others have inflicted upon us; but, that’s still no reason to spend lots of time telling others their offenses. Much better is spending that time in intercession rather than criticism and gossip.

Oh, dear Pilgrim, during the kangaroo court proceedings after His arrest in the Garden, Jesus said very little (Mt. 26:63; 27:12-14; Mk. 15:3-5; Lk. 23:9). He knew their murderous minds were made up and it was futile/foolishness to answer them. May the Holy Spirit help us to always guard our minds and mouths—even in secret—for our failure to do so may later make us wish we had.

July 27, 2011