09 October 2014

walK with THE Wise ~ O be careful... ~

Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips
and spreads slander is a fool.
Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
but the prudent hold their tongues.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
(Proverbs 10.18-21)

For those of you who attended Sunday School... or VBS... or 5-Day Clubs growing up - do you remember this song?
Oh be careful, little eyes what you see.
Oh be careful, little eyes what you see.
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So be careful little eyes what you see

The verses continue. Be careful little ears what you hear... little hands what you do... little feet where you go... little tongue what you say... little heart whom you trust... little mind what you think. Which "careful" advisement is most difficult for you?

Sometimes, it was easier to remember to be careful with my words while living in a land where not everyone understood English. I never knew when someone might - and therefore I tended to weigh words before speaking while out in public.
For me, it is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, "Oh be careful little tongue what you say." I cannot claim to be even mostly pleased with the words that I allow to form on my tongue - and then flee from my mouth before I can (or perhaps more honestly, before I really try) to stop them. 

This proverb has some convicting words about the power of words. 

Sin is not ended by multiplying words. 

The prudent hold their tongues. 

The lips of the righteous nourish many. 

Lately, one of our progeny has become, literally, obsessed with a self-centered version of justice. In other words, justice is super, ooper, duper important as it relates to said child. Not so much so when genuine justice benefits a sibling... someone else... more. And when that happens, words spew forth "torrentially," provoking a like eruption from an opposing sibling, sometimes siblings. Imagine an epic sci-fi adventure where volcanoes sprout feet, can wield weapons and launch projectiles with deadly accuracy as they battle it out. In these "mythical" battles between Wrightlings, words multiply exponentially, serving as shells exploding on contact, as swords slicing and wounding, as clubs bruising and bludgeoning. Usually no one, not even bystanders or observes, escapes unscathed.

That's exactly what these verses are talking about. 

But it doesn't have to be that way. Those who are "circumspect, and hence intelligent,"(Strong's Concordance, #7919) can use words in a very different and NOT destructive way. They can choose to "restrain and refrain;" in their refusal to misuse words and make them into weapons, they also choose to spare and to preserve. Even more significant, they become more like Jesus. They not only spare and preserve, Solomon, when he uses the word we translate "nourish," actually compares a righteous man using words well to a shepherd leading his sheep to good pasture.

Carefully, intentionally, gently using choice words over a proliferation of spewed words? 

It is one way to imitate Jesus and be, just a little bit, like the Good Shepherd.

May the words of that long ago discarded song from childhood, "be careful little tongue what you say," need to become that song ever stuck in my head... the refrain from which I can't escape?


  1. This post has really made me think. When I consider 'be careful...' I think it evokes in me a sense of fear or impending danger, self-protection rather than a concern for others who might be hurt by my words, deeds or actions. That shift in concern - that genuine care - really revolutionises 'care' and brings a whole new motivation! Thanks for your wise words!

    1. Thanks... encouraging to know that God used these musings to encourage you to consider something new!

      Blessings, and thanks for popping in this weekend!

  2. I DO remember that song, not just from my childhood but my children's and it holds true for any age, doesn't it. Great reminder to watch what we're doing so that we may reflect His image!

    1. Sometimes we forget the amazing truths taught in preschool Sunday school songs just as we ignore the infinite power of the Gospel message in our daily lives.


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