Proverbially Speaking / Chapter 18 (Words Create)

A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind… A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows… A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul… The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge… Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit“. (Proverbs 18:2,6,15,21 NASB)

This chapter is rich in so many ways; however, the foregoing verses seem to have a common thread – the connections of mind, lips, mouth, ears, and tongue, what the right or unrighteous uses of them reveal about a person, and the outcomes in life of such uses or abuses with words and opinions.

In light of this my attention was drawn to the popularity of electronic social networking, where in so many cases people seem to feel entitled to say anything without pause for consideration of its effects on others, or ultimately ourselves. We have the “freedom” to say whatever we want, without regard to how it makes us look or who it hurts or offends. There is no thoughtfulness to most of the opining, but it’s almost an obsession to be “heard”. It’s somewhat like road rage, but I’d call it maybe “screen rage”, as one may sit in a sort of anonymity and assumed safety behind the “device” and spew all sorts of verbal abuse in some conversation thread. It’s a reactionary way of responding, but usually not thoughtful, caring, or wise.

The question is, where are your manners? Or is that just another outmoded idea you’d like to rant and swear at, as you do the Bible, decency, propriety, and traditional values which frankly have made our world a pleasant place to be in times past, as well as times present where these are observed? Newsflash, pal. You may have the right, to say it (so called freedom of speech), but that doesn’t make what you say necessarily right or polite, let alone enlightening, when speech and writing are over-seasoned with highly overrated so called “colorful metaphors”.

Then there’s the opposite – delighting in understanding (not the mere spewing of opinion coming from one’s own mind) and the acquisition of knowledge. This is for the mind and the ear, and it comes with an implied need for a closed mouth and silence (a receptive attitude), listening rather than opining.

God please grant us the realization that we have two ears and one mouth! How we express ourselves reveals much about us, and whether we like it or not, there’s some “karma” involved in the use of mouth, lips, tongue, and words. Hopefully as the twenty first century rolls itself out, we will transcend the need to reveal our dirty laundry in every conversation, live or electronic, and acquire the self respect and decency to think with consideration before we “speak” or by extension write. Words after all are creative – for good or for ill.

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