Beware of the Beeping Noise
“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”
- Proverbs 13:3
Of the many parts that make up a vehicle, there is one that is essential, but it is designed to be seldom used. The HORN is meant to get another driver’s attention to avoid a collision or some other hazard. The other day, I was trying to let a car over into my lane. As they signaled, I slowed down and even motioned with my hand for them to get over. They either didn’t see me or were driving super conservatively, so finally I honked my horn as if to say, “Pay Attention. I am letting you in. You can go now!” After that episode I realized that after ten plus years of owning my car, I can count on one hand how many times I have used the horn.
I share this because the horn is a safety tool meant to be used sparingly. Any other use makes it a loud instrument that startles others, or it can become a rude way of communicating anger and disapproval. In this season it is interesting to watch how frequently, on a variety of topics and social forums, that believers are getting into arguments, giving rebuttals, reverting to name-calling, and even shouting down anyone who thinks differently. It is as if like a car engine, our mouths are constantly running, and our hands are always ready to blast the horn. I know that I continue to have to work on my responses to people when I am upset, impatient, or struggling to have clarity over someone’s position that differs from than mine.
Like the horn, our mouths are an amazing tool the Creator designed to be used for good. In the Bible we see how it is to be used sparingly and in a way that brings life and blessings. The New Testament writer James has much to say about when we are to speak and how we are to sound:
James 1:19- “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
James 3:2- “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
James 3:9-10- “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
Is there a time to speak the truth in love? Absolutely! Are there moments we need to address the elephant in the room and deal with incorrect behavior? Of course! Is it appropriate to share God’s message and let others know what we believe? That is a 100% yes! But, just like the horn, our words are meant to deliver safety, warning, and direction to the hearer. Church family let us be careful and helpful with all that comes from this most powerful tool God has given to us.