Solomon warns us of the danger of words. Those that are not wise with their words end up in BIG trouble. They have eternal consequences.
My bible helps puts these four verses together because they “concern the misuse of words and the consequences thereof.” Verse 5 doesn’t exactly fit the mold but being grouped with the others I’m told that the inference here is how the legal system can be manipulated by words; innuendo, gossip and lying. I can certainly agree with that! With that in mind, let’s look at the first and last verse in our reading. Let’s look at gossip and whispered secrets.
One thing I have always loved to do with my family is to pretend I have a secret. It never fails to get their attention. I say; “Do you want to know a secret?” The answer is most usually “Yes.” Then I will share my “secret” which is always not really a secret. “I love you.” “It’s raining.” Things along that line. Usually the response to my secret is; “That’s not a secret!” I think I may have picked up this game from my mother.
Man is curious and is always looking to expand his knowledge. The sources of that knowledge are as important, if not more, than the knowledge itself. The source is what gives it believability or not. The more trusted the source the more weight we give to what we hear.
I’ve shared with you the ‘bible story’ I learned from my mother who learned it from her mother, only to find out it is NOT in the bible at all. It was a story of David escaping from Saul into a cave and a spider quickly weaving a web across the opening. The existence of the web convinced Saul that David couldn’t possibly be in there. I wanted to teach this lesson to my Sunday school class but couldn’t find it in scripture. I FULLY believed my mother when she told me of the story and she FULLY believed her mother. Her belief was so strong that she never even went looking for confirmation. We were both stunned to learn that the story isn’t part of our Christian Bible.
Years later I went in search of that story again. I don’t even remember how the search started, but I found the story. It is actually a Jewish legend from the Talmud which is intended to teach children that EVERYTHING has a place in God’s creation. It is a beautiful little story. How it made it into my grandmother’s life, I will never know. But knowing that it really exists gives me great pleasure. It actually builds my confidence that God can get ANYTHING to ANYONE when He wants them to know it. He is Lord even over our words.
In our ‘search for knowledge’ we LOVE secrets. Discovering something that is unknown to others, or to only a few is enticing. Most secrets will have a kernel of truth to them but often becomes twisted over time and with telling. Many a secret has less and less truth as it is retold. Yet we still hold onto them. Often the more damaging or titillating the secret, the more we want to believe it and remember it. For those secrets we often don’t even try to verify the source. We take it and run with it. And we can’t wait to pass them on! THAT is gossip and that’s how it starts.
So today, I have a secret to whisper to you. Are you ready? Are you listening? Good. I’ll tell you in the end.
Let’s move now to the words mentioned in Solomon’s proverbs. They aren’t any specific words mentioned but there is a common source; the “fool.” The fool’s words get him into trouble. The words Solomon is referring to are often used to make one more important or to bring someone else down. They can be words of boasting, taunting, outright lies, or innuendo. Words used to hurt others. And they get the one speaking them in trouble. They can stir up anger, cause division, and even damn the speaker themselves.
The words of the last example are the ones spoken against God. The ones that claim unbelief or even blaspheme the Holy Spirit. These words have eternal consequences. They determine Heaven or Hell for the speaker.
Most are like toothpaste. Once spoken they can never be taken back. They can be apologized for but not wiped from memory. Be watchful the words you speak.
I suppose you have waited long enough for my secret. Here it is:
God LOVES you! And He can even cleanse you of the stains of your own words. (Mine too!) I’m hoping you are saying; “That’s not a secret” because you already know Him. If it is a secret, use your words to cry out to Him to receive His love. And forgiveness for the words you have let control your life.
Father God, THANK YOU for loving me. Thank You that I get to share little bits and pieces of Your words with others. Please use the words I write to build up and not tear down. Let them be words of life. Words that reach into the depths of the soul with the good news of Your love.
Watch over my words. Help me to always consider how they sound, including the tone, when I let them from my mouth. Tone is as important as the words themselves. Let me speak love, even in situations where I am stressed. Put a guard on my mouth; my unruly tongue. I give it to You.