Be careful little mouth what you say….
The second in a series
Fishing is a sport I know practically nothing about. The only time I agreed to try it happened at a small lake in Oklahoma. The combination of the rancid smell of the live bait, the sharp metal hook pricking my fingers as I tried to attach the lure, and the hot stillness of the water gave me a scorching headache. I suppose I’m just not the type to sit in a rocking boat for hours on end, holding a fishing pole and enjoying it. At one point during that long day, however, the monotony broke.
As soon as the bobber bounced and the line tugged, I knew I had a catch. The one fish I did actually snare sent me into an emotional tailspin. Initially, it was exciting to know I had succeeded in tricking one to bite into the bait-covered hook. Slowly reeling in the line, I pulled it up into the boat where I watched it helplessly wiggle and squirm, trying with all its might to jerk free. The hook had sliced all the way through its mouth, like a catch on a string of pearls, making it impossible for the fish to escape.
Its eyes were wide with the kind of terror produced from impending death, as if it knew its coffin was to be a hot frying pan. How could I be the one responsible for the tragic fate of this innocent fish? I simply couldn’t remove the hook and became queasy over the thought. My short-lived victory was replaced by deep regret.
Do men try to snare one another with words the same way that they fish for seafood?
You bet they do. Some always have their fishing line in the water, their bait sparkling and attractive as it hides a deadly hook.
The most obvious example of this type of snare lies in the field of law. Some lawyers are schooled to be wolves in sheep’s clothing, trained to trick people into saying words that will snare them. That is how attorneys win cases—no matter if those tricks may result in the ruin of other people’s lives. I wonder if any of them ever have regrets later, much the same as mine over catching that innocent fish?
Interestingly, God’s Word addresses this very issue in Proverbs.
If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,
Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.
Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler Proverbs 6:2-5 NAS.
Here Proverbs gives us godly advice about what to do if our words have caught us in a snare. Perhaps the issue involves a promise not kept, the telling of a lie, or idle gossip. Although it is not easy, the only way out is to face the other person with humility and seek forgiveness. That is how to walk in freedom.
Even though we may get accidentally hooked by a tempting lure and say something we shouldn’t, isn’t is good to know that God can help deliver us? As we swim through life’s ocean speaking a sea of words, let’s guard what we say by being shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves Matthew 10:16 NAS.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life Psalms 15:4 NAS.
Don’t bite the bait.