July 25, 2006 [edited]
Someone will probably think I'm really "unspiritual" when I say that Bible reading is not always a blessing. Let me explain what I mean by that.
The other night in my evening Bible reading I came across this verse:
Proverbs 17:4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
Of course, I'd read that many times before, but for some reason on this particular evening it made me think of something I had not thought of before. Perhaps I should say something I had been unwittingly trying to avoid.
Some years ago I had a friend whom I liked a lot. She and I were agreed in a number of areas where I often can't find agreement with other women. She was often a fun person to be around and also loved the Lord. I could talk to her about a lot of things that many women did not understand - Christian women.
But, (it's always "but", isn't it?) ...but, she was a horrible exaggerator. At first, I didn't realize this, but after quoting her and listening to her talking to different people I came to realize that she "stretched" things - sometimes considerably - to make them more impressive and that she changed details to make people think what she wanted them to think. I was sorely embarrassed at least once after having quoted her when the factual account was given by someone else.
Now, my inclination was to overlook this to some degree. It bothered me, but I just dealt with it by not quoting her or by emphasizing, "I was told...". In general I still considered her a pretty decent person. However, there were later events that were “highly irregular” and which left me wondering just how much she did deviate from the truth. The situation may have been instrumental in ending our friendship at least for the time.
Getting back to the verse: Proverbs 17:4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
No one tells the truth 100% of the time, not even the most honest person. Only God is capable of that. Rom. 3:4
Had I taken God at His word I would have realized my friend's problem a lot sooner, for this lady did willingly "lend" her ears to people who had false lips and naughty tongues. She eagerly listened to certain more "spiritual" gossips in her church family, especially in certain situations.
The really sad part of the verse came in for me when I realized what this lady really is. Finally I had to face what God thinks of her. She is not just misguided. She is not just careless. She is wicked. She is a liar. That really hurts, but God forbid that I would argue with Him!
As for my own part, I also should have learned much sooner to not listen to her, as I was falling into the very same thing. I needed to discern her false lips and not give heed!
Now, lest ye judge her unsaved based on this, let me say that I really think she is saved. She is very different from the rest of her family, who are godless by and large. She also really seems to have been chastened. While this is not for me to judge, it is my hope for her! (How sad when we have to cling to someone's chastening as our hope of their salvation!)
Dear reader, is this lady you? Are you listening to false lips and naughty tongues? Perhaps you are like I was and are "overlooking" this behavior in a close friend. Please consider the verse above and also these other verses in Proverbs:
Prv. 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Prv. 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Prv. 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Do you just "stretch" things a little here and there (or perhaps a lot) to give the impressions you want people to have? Do you use your tone of voice to suggest things that the facts do not always support? I brought this up here partly because I have seen that we womenfolk have a tendency to interpret, stretch, and imply things to "encourage" people to think the way we want them to think. God's standard of truth is much higher!
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Note to the overly sensitive: Please don't run to excess with this. As one man said, "You can tell 10 people something and they will take it 25 different ways." We don't all see or hear things the same. Also, it is common for a person to tell the same story differently every time he or she tells it, but the gist of the thing is the same. People often don't remember exact details. I'm talking here about intentional or obvious exaggerations, slanting stories to achieve an agenda, lying, slander and the like. In some cases these must be identified over a period of time. I'm also talking about people who seldom apologize when caught misrepresenting the truth. Be wise in applying this.