Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. One who is clever conceals knowledge, but the mind of a fool broadcasts folly.
It might (or might not) have been Abraham Lincoln who said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” I suspect that whoever it was, they were significantly influenced by the Book of Proverbs, where foolishness and the ability to talk rubbish are a common theme.
There are, of course, people who don’t speak until they are absolutely clear about what they want to express. They often have a great deal of wisdom to offer, but run the risk of not being heard, because by the time they are ready to speak, things have moved on.
I’m the other sort of person – the sort that sometimes works out what they are thinking by talking. I always run the risk of broadcasting folly. In my early days in Wessex I remember being in various meetings, and explaining that it was best not to take what I first said as being my final opinion. Welcome to the society of fools!
Whilst I risk saying things that aren’t wise, and I’m sure that plenty of people would be glad if I said less, I hope that both you and I are able to follow the first part of this reading completely. There’s a difference between talking nonsense, and deliberately lying. I suspect that the collector of these proverbs would be tearing their hair out at the comments section on the average website news item.
The contrast between God’s response to faithless talk and faithful action is the important thing here. So, in the words of the Elvis Presley song, perhaps God is calling us to “a little less conversation, a little more action please.”
God, You are described as both Word and Wisdom. May we reflect your wisdom in our words and in our silence. And may our faithful actions be a sign to others of your presence in our lives. Amen
The Rev’d Clare Downing, Moderator of Wessex Synod and General Assembly Moderator