“Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter” (Ecc. 10:20).
Be careful what you say. Once words are spoken they cannot be taken back. Think before you speak. Make sure what you say is true. Don’t say it because you want it to be so. Make sure you have the facts. Even then consider if it is wise to say it or repeat it. Just because something is true doesn’t always mean it should be told. Solomon said, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Prov. 29:11).
Be wise about sharing your thoughts with just anyone. Some people are confidential and some are gossipers; some have tight lips and others have loose tongues. God warned the Israelites not to “go up and down as a talebearer among thy people” (Lev. 19:16). There are people who live for gossip. They seem to be hooked on it like a drug. But even when a person is confidential he may forget or in a moment of weakness let private information slip. We should all be guarded in what we say and what we hear.
Word spreads quickly. It always has. Long before the days of smart phones, people listened and talked and spread the latest news like wildfire. The fastest and surest way to get people’s attention has always been to ask, “Did you hear about…?” We are curious creatures and our inquisitive side can get us into trouble.
It is amazing how top secret conversations can become so public. Something whispered in a corner of the White House can travel with lightning speed through social media and arrive later that day in homes through evening news. This is especially true when there is a scandal someone is trying to keep secret like lies, murder, or adultery. The habit of otherwise upright people of being drawn by sordid news is a mystery and a sad commentary on human nature.
Do you need this article? All of us do. We all fall short of the mark in regard to the tongue and the ear. Some have a harder time than others in controlling their words, but each of us can relate to what James said about the tongue. He said all of us stumble (James 3:2).
We can never do better unless we focus on the source of our words. That source is not the tongue. Our tongue is just flesh and blood. It only does what we tell it to do. The same is true of the fingers that touch a screen or that hold a pen to write a message. Words come from inside our hearts. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). The problem is not a bird in the air. It is the thoughts of our mind. Make a habit of thinking about good things (Phil. 4:8). Only then can you watch your words and speak good things.