Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are there dead flies in your life?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment,
And cause it to give off a foul odour;
So does a little folly to one respected
for wisdom and honour.
...The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious
But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up." Ecclesiastes 10:1,12

In this day of the internet, when anyone can post on blogs, forums, chat-rooms, and twitter, can comment on news features, editorials, blogs, and columns, Solomon's advice to avoid words of folly is more apropos than ever.

It is advice especially applicable to people of faith. The world, rightly or wrongly, holds people who call themselves Christians to a high standard.

I believe we are justified in holding each other to a level of consistency. How disappointing would it be if you discovered your pastor, whose teaching nourishes you on Sundays, was in the habit of disparaging his parishioners on a pastor's forum, and sometimes forwarded off-colour jokes?

For those of us who have an online presence the danger of messing up is always present. Perhaps the best protection against being betrayed by your own tongue and actions is to have a guileless heart, where you have already dealt with unworthy thoughts, words, and temptations to act impetuously (we all have them) before God. ("A wise man's heart guides his mouth and his lips promote instruction" - Proverbs 16:23 NIV.)

How much better to be known as a person whose speech (in every venue: blog posts, e-news comments, forums, chats, Facebook) and life, is characterized by grace.

Some of my favourite verses in this regard:

"She opens her mouth with wisdom
And on her tongue is the law of kindness" - Proverbs 31:26  (said of the virtuous wife by King Lemuel).

"A gentle response defuses anger,
but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. " Proverbs 15:1 Message

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones" - Proverbs 16:24

PRAYER: Dear God, please show me the dead flies in my life — the places where my stated beliefs and words / actions don't line up. Amen.

MORE: "May the Words of My Mouth" - Tim Hughes

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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