There are two words in our language that when put together can bring a modicum of peace, but they are so difficult to say that it isn’t often that you hear them! I have tried to change that in myself so I am here to make a confession today. I totally judged someone as a thief and I have to apologize for it! I judged that the possums or raccoons were the thief’s who were stealing my garbage and leaving a mess on the porch! This morning, the truth was out! I caught Mr. Squirrel red-handed! Busted! Two things were stressed in our home, don’t judge people, and the thing that would get my bottom spanked, would be repeating something I was not supposed to repeat. Talk about a church member? That was almost the death penalty. We had to keep peace in the family! If the infraction was between me and one of my siblings, I got a spanking and a scripture, generally it was Proverbs 6:16-19 Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family. The last line in the King James Version reads, “He that sows discord among his brothers.” I think it is clear from this passage that we should guard our lips from speaking unwisely. Proverbs 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Another old saying is that you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all.
Sometimes I think, when someone repeats bad or hurtful things that have been said about you, they are taking the opportunity to say things they wish to say and are hiding behind the “someone else” thing. Telling someone to keep their mouth shut against saying harsh words or repeating gossip seems to be the impossible task. My grandfather, Aram, told me that I should stop and think 10 times about something before I said it, to which I replied, “If I did that, I would never say ANY thing!” At that he just gave me a sly little smile that accomplished shutting me up.
I had a history of saying inappropriate things, like when I was 4 years old I informed a group of preacher’s wives at the South Carolina Camp meeting, that my parents were not really married! Of course they thought it was funny, not so much for me when one of them informed my parents! Maybe I felt the need for a little “center of attention” type of thing! That may be cute on a four-year old, but as you get older it isn’t funny. One wrong word out of your mouth can smash someone’s world and I would not want to be responsible for that: Ecclesiastes 10:12-13 “The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool is self-destructive, He starts out talking nonsense and ends up spouting insanity and evil.”
Next weekend will be the July 4th holiday and you may be getting together with members of your family that you don’t really care to be around, maybe one of them grates on your nerves by always “knowing more” about anything you say, or having a suggestion for how you do something, or their kid is better than your kid…just for the sake of “peace on earth, good will toward men” give it a rest, smile and remember Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” I have to be careful, sometimes the thing that is nestled safely in my brain finds its way to my tongue and I don’t even know how it got there! SO, my friend, “a word to the wise is sufficient”! Promote peace and love by saying kind words and spread
love, not gossip!