Feb 11 2018 Wisdom vs. The Wicked - Guard your Mouth, Eyes, and Heart
11th February 2018
Last week we looked at a negative character – the simple/naïve – and this week, we’ll look at another negative character – the wicked:
Prov. 6:12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, 13 Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, Who points with his fingers; 14 Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife. 15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.
There are three problem areas throughout Proverbs for the wicked person
Mouth – Speech
We’ll start with the mouth – speech.
Perverse speech – we tend to think of two things: Cursing and swearing. When we say curse and swear, it is very different from the Bible – we think of saying the x-word – fill in the letter.
For the Bible – cursing is like saying a pox on the you and your household!
And swearing – is not what we think either, but rather, do you solemnly swear.… -
What we call cursing or swearing would be referred to in the Bible as coarse speech, or unwholesome talk.
In context, in Proverbs – perverse speech is so much more than we think – it is not just bad words – it is relationally oriented
Cindy is a 2-3rd grade teacher – she reads literature where she tries to stretch them and their vocabulary. One of the kids: Mrs Marette used the s-word! And that word was stupid. We should never put someone down by calling them stupid – but the word has an appropriate meaning when used in the appropriate context.
When Proverbs talks about someone with a perverse mouth – it is relationally oriented. The wicked person uses words to put down, belittle, criticize,, mock, deceive and judge – from a heart of arrogance and superiority, using sarcasm, cutting, objectifying, boasting, flattery.
It is using words to hurt people, or put others down – to demean or belittle. It can be in sexual speech where people are objectified.
Look at what it says - Prov. 6:12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
There is so much perverse speech when it comes to racial issues, issues of immigration or areas of politics. It is so easy to throw out words that are belittling for those who are different from us – and it is utterly wicked. God makes it clear.
In our day – it was the jokes about the dumb blonde. I don’t think that happens much anymore. Or does it?
Sweet words of flattery – to hurt and demean – are every bit as wicked as crude words to offend.
Flattery might be saying something nice to a person for your own benefit rather than yours.
It can be used to put someone off-guard so you can get your way.
We can be aggressive or passively aggressive. Perverse speech can sound good – but when the motivation behind the word is to injure, demean and belittle, that is a problem. This is a great problem in our day and age.
Prov. 6:16 6 There are six things that the LORD hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members.
James 3:5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by human beings, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness.
There is a world of evil – and now – we just take it as, oh, so what? Everybody talks like that! Everybody tweets like that! Everybody posts like that! But as Christians, we need to be wholly different when it comes to speech – the way we talk to and about others. I think it is one of our greatest opportunities to be like Jesus. To not go about gossiping at work, school, or the neighborhood. To not put down other groups.
Let no unwholesome talk come from you –
Imagine if everyone at work was only positive – no unwholesome words. Or if the politicians took it to heart.
Keller – June 19 – words kill – you are not wise unless you fully grasp the power of words. Words are like swords, piercing into your heart and soul. When you say a hurtful word, you can never make things as if it were never uttered. Like wounds from a sword – the wound may appear to heal, but the scar remains. Words designed to hurt are like toxic chemicals – once they get into the ground they just pollute everything.
Jesus said this: The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
It is what is in the heart that comes out through the mouth. You know a person’s heart by their speech. We are focusing on speech that belittles and puts down.
This is about understanding how our culture is and then understanding that there is a gospel mission for each of us and we reflect that by our speech.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone. (Col. 4:6 NET)
There is a gospel purpose for proper speech. Paul uses this in light of the gospel – our mission – our speech plays such an important role in our mission. In our world, if we focus on gracious speech, we will be so different from the rest – if we don’t belittle and put down, we will be seen as uniquely different and attractive – salty – makes thirsty – flavored. That is why gracious speech is important – not so we can think better of ourselves.
In their world, they were being questioned – what is this Christianity stuff? There were legal issues – and Paul is saying – your testimony is so tied about how you communicate to others. It should always be gracious. Probably all of us have to acknowledge that at times we are not gracious in our speech.
The second problem area: The Eyes
One who winks the eyes plans perverse things; one who compresses the lips brings evil to pass. (Proverbs 16:30 NRSV)
Gestures that we use to deceive, trick, and trap people. He is speaking of manipulation in relationships – using expressions to harm or control or take advantage of someone else.
Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Neither let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously. (Psalm 35:19 NASB)
Philippians 2: You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a servant.
Have the same attitude in yourself – God did not take advantage of his privileges, but set them aside in relationship with us.
In all of our relational circumstances – what we need to learn to do – to ask ourselves, what are my advantages and privileges in my relationship – and how do I lay them aside to serve this other person? Tat is what it means to serve Jesus – what it means to be a Christian. Anything else is subChristian. But this is who we are supposed to become like – and it is very clear in Scripture that is what we are supposed to be and it is important for the world to have Christians who look and act like that.
We need to be honest – Christianity is not always known for that.
Third – the Heart.
The Pharisees of the day were concerned about the food they ate.
He said, "What comes out of a person defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, evil, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, pride, and folly. 23 All these evils come from within and defile a person.“
The issue is the inner core being – our heart – and the book of Proverbs tells us to guard our hearts – for out of it comes the innermost thoughts and feelings. It takes diligence and work. It means something as silly and simple as when you are watching sports – to make sure your heart does not get angry or frustrated. My wife does this for me – Miiiike! It is simple and silly, but it is real. It is guarding and watching over our hearts.
Rick and Carol were talking about flying from Africa to home – and they had a movie on the plane – and they would have to make their kids put their heads down because of the movie being shown. We were talking about how often WE have to put our heads down when we’re watching something! Or leave the room! Why? We guard our hearts! Jesus says to guard it. What kind of things affect your heart? What things negatively turn your heart – and then guard that – don’t let it creep in – do what you can to stop that! It is a lot of work! It will always be a struggle – that is why it is talked about so much – because we are being bombarded by things that try to steal our hearts – so we have to be all the more diligent.
There is a mission solution to this. In our ministry leaders meeting – we were talking about our mission statement – how are we doing? Reaching and equipping – feel like we do pretty well at equipping the Christians, but need to do more for reaching others…
1 Peter 3:15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.
The mission solution of the heart is making Christ Lord of your heart – Lord: Master and King. Being subject to Him. The key to having a heart that is pure is focusing on having a heart that focuses on Christ. We are to engage the world with that kind of heart, under our Lord and King.