“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.”Proverbs 4:24
Proverbs contains deep theology as we have seen, but also many practical, pithy words of advice for all who love God.
We’ve heard so much about “fake news.” Propaganda, false advertising, outright lies and manipulations of truth have been part of the human scene it seems forever. And we all fall prey to the very human love of gossip. Preachers are no different. Way back in the 50’s and 60’s there was a group of Methodist clergy who gathered each Monday at Smithfield St. Methodist Church (no “United” then) and essentially told stories about how many were in worship the day before. The numbers were known as “preacher’s count!” And in the spring, the topic turned to the latest clergy appointments and speculations about who would be “getting the plum churches.” Oh we love to gossip. Reminds me of that “patter” song in “The Music Man” about “gossiping” folks in River City! And who can forget the Western movies where the villain spoke with “forked tongue?” Jesus said “My word is truth.” God spoke, and creation took place. “In the beginning was the Word,” cries John’s Gospel. And of course Pilate sneered “What is truth?” The writer of Proverbs knew that speech and talk that was false or twisted would lead to disaster. And it is so today. Is our speech “crooked,” or do we reflect the presence of the Word of Truth in every conversation?