I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Proverbs 12:16-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
16 Fools show their anger at once,
but the prudent ignore an insult.
17 Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness speaks deceitfully.
18 Rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 Deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil,
but those who counsel peace have joy.
21 No harm happens to the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
These six verses from Proverbs are perhaps more relevant today than they were two and half millennia ago. Read them over carefully and think about the state of our society at present. I used to think that social media, on balance, was probably good because of the way it connects us. I now think that social media, on balance, is corrosive to our relationships and even our democracy. Just in the last week I heard yet another story of a well-qualified young woman interviewing for a job losing out because of something she posted—in anger—on one of the social media platforms. Since those things have a long shelf life, her “rash words” were still there to be found by her prospective employers.
Think about the state of our democracy and meditate on the words of Proverbs. Not heeding these words of wisdom is tearing us apart. Not heeding these words of wisdom has ruined friendships and damaged family ties. Not heeding these words has so blurred the line between truth and lies, facts and fiction, that truth itself has become a casualty in the relentless war of words.
Read these words again. And again. What if these verses from Proverbs popped up before a post or a tweet on the screens of computers, tablets, and phones along with the words “Are you sure you want to post this?”
Finally, consider these words of James 3:2-12 –
2 We all make mistakes often, but those who don’t make mistakes with their words have reached full maturity. Like a bridled horse, they can control themselves entirely. 3 When we bridle horses and put bits in their mouths to lead them wherever we want, we can control their whole bodies.
4 Consider ships: They are so large that strong winds are needed to drive them. But pilots direct their ships wherever they want with a little rudder. 5 In the same way, even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts wildly.
Think about this: A small flame can set a whole forest on fire. 6 The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.
7 People can tame and already have tamed every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish. 8 No one can tame the tongue, though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness. 10 Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it just shouldn’t be this way!
11 Both fresh water and salt water don’t come from the same spring, do they? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? Of course not, and fresh water doesn’t flow from a saltwater spring either.
There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “The Gift of Love”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster