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A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
How many friendships have been destroyed by a juicy morsel of gossip mouthed in a moment of anger or mentioned because of envy? How many have become twice shy about sharing an intimate secret with an acquaintance or a family member because of a careless slip of the tongue, even if the motive wasn’t to hurt? On the other hand, how many have found their best friend to be the one who is able to keep secrets and to love them in spite of what they know? How many business people have held in high esteem those partners or employees who know how to keep quiet about what has been told them in private?
We know, especially if we’ve been burned by loose lips, how damaging the tongue can be. We also know, sometimes from experience, how rare and beautiful it is to find someone with whom we can be comfortable and confident to share anything. Is it any wonder that God includes damaging words of the tongue among those he forbids within his 10 Commandments? Martin Luther, who had tremendous insight into the Lord’s commands, wrote these words as explanation to the Eighth Commandment (You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor): “We should fear and love God that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him or give him a bad name….”
When we use our tongue in a way that betrays another’s confidence, we do more than disappoint, or potentially lose, a friend. When we let loose with some nugget of information (even if true!) that causes shame or disgrace, we break God’s command. Can you think of a time that has happened in your life? Perhaps it’s not a specific example, but you’re pretty sure you’ve let your tongue slip once or twice or many more times than that. As we hear proverbs like this one of Solomon, may God lead us to confess that we’ve sinned by the way we’ve used our tongue. And then may he lead us to look to Jesus. The perfect trustworthy man. The perfect confidant. The one who used his tongue only for the glory of God and always for the good of neighbor! That one who lived perfectly in our place then innocently went to the cross for every one of our slips, every one of our careless words and all of our malicious mud-slinging.
As followers of Jesus, desiring to thank and serve him, let’s strive to put this proverb of God’s truth into practice. What a blessing God can make us to others as we rein in our tongue! What a tremendous privilege to live our lives for others, using constraint as we talk about them and what they’ve shared with us! We live as trustworthy men and women with those we love and those with whom we work and worship, all in and through Jesus who strengthens us with his grace and guides us by his Word.
Lord, forgive me for the times when I have used my tongue in a sinful way. I know in Jesus you have forgiven me. Restore any relationships that have been broken in my life because of sins of the tongue. Help me to glorify you and to serve my neighbor by the things I say…and the things I don’t. Amen.
“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.
Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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