Day 26 in Proverbs
Proverbs 26: 23-28 “Hiding hateful thoughts behind smooth talk is like coating a clay pot with a cheap glaze. The pleasant talk of an enemy hides more evil plans than can be counted – so don’t believe a word! Everyone will see through those evil plans. If you dig a pit, you will fall in; if you start a stone rolling, it will roll back on you. Watch out for anyone who tells lies and flatters – they are out to get you.”
I live in NC. We’ve got some really great smooth talkers here. There’s something about a Southern accent where you can almost see the honey drip off the words. Of course, sometimes if you look real closely, you’ll notice that honey is just lightly covering up lots of bees getting ready to sting!
I enjoy watching the smooth talkers. It’s a real gift. And there is nothing wrong with it if it is done with good and harmless motives. We’re in a relational world, and speaking to people in a way that encourages them and makes them feel good….that should be a goal of all of us. But there needs to be a purity behind it. If you hear someone telling people lies as they flatter…..watch out for them. They are doing the same to you! It just may be a bit more subtle. Don’t sugar coat it yourself or allow it to be a treat that you enjoy. It’s wrong….and it’s evil. In the end this kind of stuff destroys. If it builds people up, but it builds them up artificially. And what happens then? At some point the tower comes falling down. The truth comes out. People get hurt.
But let’s not think about everyone else….I think we need to turn these verses on ourselves. What about our hateful thoughts? Surely I am not the only one who has them on occasion! I’ve learned something about them over the years, though. They profit no one. If you feed them, allow them to fester, they grow and grow until they are out of control. And then they consume you. You see everyone in a negative light. You give people life sentences for being human….for saying something in anger on a bad day or for failing to say something that you want to hear. You’re harboring so many grudges you lose track of who you like and who you dislike.
But chances are, if you are hiding hateful thoughts, underneath it all you dislike almost everyone. Including yourself. You carry all this bitterness inside of you and even when you are trying to show people the honey, some who look your way see the impending bee stings! Now, they may not say anything…..or react in a way that shows they notice. But inside there is a voice saying “Danger, Will Robinson.” Especially here in the South. A lot of people just take it in and file it away, and then avoid you. They’re not confrontational. In fact, even if you ask them direct, they will deny they have an issue with you at all. But do you ever wonder why some people don’t seem to find time to be around you anymore? It may be that the bitterness is oozing out of you and even if you are nice to them, they don’t want to feel the drips as your venom for others oozes from your pores.
My Nana, my maternal grandmother, was someone who found fault with almost everyone and everything in her life. She lived a miserable existence. I learned a lot from her…. that I didn’t want to live her life. I want to like people. I want to enjoy them. I want to encourage and support and build them up. I know I have a critical spirit, but it doesn’t have to make us all miserable. I can pull out the positives of that trait and do my best to eliminate the negatives. I have a happy life….I think it is because this is something I have been working on for a long time.
I am also an idealist by nature, and because of that I don’t always understand why people don’t live as they say they believe, or why people don’t strive to be the best person they can, or why when given a choice people don’t do what I think is obviously the right thing. Because of that I get disappointed by people often. I’ve learned, however, that while the disappointments happen, I don’t control the lives of other people. And that is quite freeing. I am only responsible for me. I believe the we reap what we sow, so ultimately those who sow evil will reap evil. I need to pity them instead of hating them. You won’t catch me spending long hours of my life worrying about them, though….I get over it. Because there is not benefit in holding onto other people’s stuff!
I am certainly no potter (everyone who knows me well, knows I do not have much of a crafty side), and those of my friends who are potters may have something more insightful to say on this point, but I think putting cheap glaze on clay pots means that you can try to cover up clay, but when it gets down to it, it is still just dirt. To cover it in cheap glaze means that it’s going to chip, peel and flake off without much effort. What is underneath is not well hidden. What you think comes out when you speak. We all are human and will have hateful thoughts of others from time to time. But let’s not savor them and see them as honey, when they are really just bitter and should be spit out as soon as possible.