May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?” Psalm 12:3-4
One of the many themes woven throughout the book of Proverbs and reiterated here in Psalm 12 is the power and destructiveness of the tongue. The tongue gets us into trouble a lot. Sure, it has the power to heal and comfort but it has the power to destroy too. In these verses the subject is pride and arrogance.
Winston Churchill had this to say about Clement Atlee, the Prime Minister between Churchill’s two tenures: “He’s a modest man with much to be modest about.” Is this not how God must view the braggart and arrogant among us? While people try to play a big game, in the end they (we) are nothing more than a speck of lint on a shirt, unnoticeable except when it mars the appearance of the shirt.
The opposite of these attributes is humility, the sobering realization that apart from Christ we are nothing. If the opposite is true, we have no need of Christ.
I’ll end today’s post with a quick story. A number of years ago I was playing volleyball at a church picnic. As was par for the course I was trash talking with the other team saying how great we were and were going to stomp them. I think I had gone just a tad too far because an elderly woman I respected greatly (who was actually playing on our side) said three words to me about my over-the-top trash talking, “Careful, Dave, careful.” Ouch.
We cross lines like this without even realizing it. Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit to help prevent us from going too far, but we still need to listen when He speaks.