March 8

March 8 – March 14

 

Scripture Passage:  “The tongue of the just is as choice silver:  the heart of the wicked is little worth.  The lips of the righteous feed many:  but fools die for want of wisdom.  The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.”  Proverbs 10: 20-22

Dear Friends,

     Much is being said today about freedom of speech, the Bill of Rights, and Amendment 1.  What does Amendment 1 actually say?  “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  Many of our forefathers and their families had been greatly impacted and even persecuted by the Church of England.  Having experienced and lived through this, they made up their minds that no single church denomination would be established as the State Church and thus have control over everyone’s belief system.  Their purpose was not to destroy the importance of religion, but rather to enhance it by allowing for differences of opinion.  The second part of this amendment is the part I want to dwell on.  The freedom of speech or the press.  This was never meant to be a freedom to say whatever you want to regardless of the truth or damage it might cause.  The signers of our Constitution had lived under the tyranny of King George and many had been arrested and jailed for criticizing or disagreeing with him or one of his colonial puppets.  The newspapers of the day were under constant threat of being shut down for printing anything derogatory against the British Crown or Parliament.  In both scenarios the colonist believed they had the right to establish and publish the truth.  There are two questions I believe should be asked before opening our mouth or striking the pen. What is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and why or for what purpose am I exposing the truth?  If I do not know absolutely sure what the truth is, I do not need to be talking about it.   If my reason for discussing that truth is to destroy or tear down a person’s character or witness, I do not need to be talking about it in public.  The only reason a Christian should ever discuss these matters is to bring about repentance and restoration.  Anything else is just gossip.  

     Solomon says that a person who chooses his words wisely is like a vessel of choice silver.  The words he speaks will be used to feed many with wisdom and will lead to the blessings of the Lord.  The words of the wicked is of little worth, contains much sorrow and leads to death.  Listen to the words of James, the half-brother of Jesus.  “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”  James 3: 5-6   James says that the person who learns to bridle his tongue will live a life that is complete and will be able to control his actions and emotions.  I believe that sometimes people talk just to hear themselves. 

     The truth is, we all know how difficult it is to bridle the tongue.  I am what some people call “a talker.”  I enjoy conversing with others and dialoguing about important topics. Politics annoy me.  Most television shows bore me.  Televised sports either make me nervous or weary.  The Lord, my family, the church, music, the farm, or tractors are my topics of discussion and are listed in their order of importance. When I stick to those topics I normally stay out of trouble.  Conversations that begin with, “Have you heard,”  “I need to tell you something,” or “Did you know?”  normally lead to conversations that either make trouble for me or get me in trouble.  I often find there is a fine line between prayer request and gossip.  I want to conclude this article by quoting that great philosopher and theologian, Thumper, from Walt Disney’s movie, Bambi. Thumper’s mother told him, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say nothing at all.”  I think Solomon, James, and Jesus would all agree. Sometimes to say nothing is a sign of the greatest wisdom of all. 

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny