It has been some time since I walked through the Book of Proverbs. In fact I thought I gave up on my journey to complete this book…but alas I did not. I finished the Book of Proverbs last year, but I have been chewing on the meat of the last few chapters for awhile.
We have all fallen prey to flapping lips and a bitter sweet tongue. I am not just referring to the recieving end of this debacle. I am also referring to being the deliverer of unfavorable, peppery words. Worse yet is when they are seasoned with scripture. A dash of the good Word to make our point, justify our gossiping lips and to soothe our wagging tongue. Oh yes, a pinch of scripture to make it easier for the listener to swallow. Does this truth sound harsh, I hope so. Because I have seen and heard far too much of it lately.
An unsavory few events has me taking personal stock of my flapping lips and bitter sweet tongue. Just how guilty am I? I have always been a firm believer that when God sheds light on something, and we hate what we see in others…it’s often because there is something in us that reflects that light. Maybe not a mirror image, but certainly a reminder or a nudge of where things might be heading.
Proverbs 26 has a lot to say about a fools gossiping tongue. It shed a light in the darkness and brings forward what we could easily fall victim to.
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him.” Proverbs 26:4(NIV).
That verse hits it right out of the park for me. Often when I see or hear someone being verbally hurtful to another I want to jump in and give them a good “what for” lecture. I want to plead for them to be kinder, gentler and less judgemental. In some cases, with some people the words sink in. In other cases I am seen as no better than the fool who started the quarrel in the first place. A word for a word is not always a cap and a hero. It is not what saves the day. It’s in those moments that we need to pray about the situation and allow Him to lead the result.
“Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool” Proverbs 26:9(NIV).
Words cut deep all on there own, but when scripture is misused to deliver that blow it cuts deep. You are no longer afflicting someones emotions, you have just cut to the spirit. Scripture has it’s place, don’t mistake that. Delivery and deliverer make all the difference. You can not take scripture and willfully bend it to suit your personal preferences. Scripture is not a tool to be mishandled, and it was never meant to beat someone down. It is meant to deliver each and everyone of us to the feet of Christ. To bring us to Him heart in hand, ready to accept His gift so that we might draw closer to God. That won’t happen if it is used to force a personal agenda.
“Without wood a fire goes out, Without gossip a quarrel dies.” Proverbs 26:20(NIV).
Gossip comes from flapping lips and a bitter sweet tongue. It’s an ugly thing that when conditions are just right can set one heck of a blaze. It burns and it leaves scars. This scripture reminds us that we have a choice, we can either add fuel to the fire or we can dump a bucket of water on it. Sometimes taste buds just love juicy gossip, it satisfies the palet and stimulates the senses. It’s like a rush of caffine, but with all stimulants once the go go is gone, a crash is inevitable. Gossip wrecks lives, usually has very little truth and even if it does, it was none of our business in the first place. Revealing someone elses truths for the purpose of public shame is not our mission in life. It never was and it never will be.
“A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Proverbs 26:28(NIV).
I had to read and reread this, not because I did’nt understand it. I had to reread it because it shook me. Shook me hard. Its a truth that shouts in maximum volume. A lying tongue knows what it is doing. Lies are not an accident, they are thought out and then spoken. Knowing full well there is consequences. A flattering mouth, this to me is the knife in the back. Its when someone can look at you, straight in the eyes and say such kind words and in the next breath cut you down behind your back…without ever batting an eye.
Proverbs 26 teaches us a lot about flapping lips and a bitter sweet tongue. It teaches us that we need to tame the beast, zip the lip and pray before we speak. It’s so easy to just speak our minds, but it is not always so easy to be silent. Sometimes silence is the right choice. I guess what I want everyone to come away with from this devotion is that words cut deep, scripture cuts deeper. It has its place and its time to be delivered. Before we deliver it we should pray about it. Sometimes we have to be a whisper in the sea of voices. A tiny voice to a drowning victim can be a life vest in the sea. If used properly it can save.