I’ve been waiting for today! My favorite proverb is in this chapter!
If you’ve ever tried to play dodge-ball when everyone else is playing basketball, or rugby in the middle of a soccer match you know what it is to get pushed aside. You’ve heard them yell at you, “WHAT?!? are you DOING?!? I did that socially as a twelve-year-old.
I grew up with a fun bunch of guys. Donnie, Brian, Clyde and I got along great, and as soon as he was old enough, we asked Dave to join in. We went to Sunday School and church together. We had so much fun. We laughed, told jokes and talked about last week. We played Army and rode bikes. We especially enjoyed trying to out-do each other’s insults. I think it probably started with a Weekly Reader or Scholastic magazine and grew from there, but we had this ongoing contest among us, trying to come up with the best insult yet. We knew we didn’t mean it about each other. We always rated the insult afterwards. Not bad, Pretty good, or Very “nice”. Our little game was always about the creativity or imagery of the insult, never about who happened to catch it this time.
It never occurred to me that when we moved to a new community, my new friends didn’t play this game and had no interest in learning how. My new friendships took a hit every time I “blessed” them with an award-winning insult, even though it wasn’t personal. WHAT?!? are you DOING?!? I might as well have hurled a basketball at my teammates’ feet after the jump ball.
I floundered while I tried to figure out why I wasn’t liked in Nebraska as much as I was back home. I began to grasp that my sharp tongue and quick wit got me in trouble more here than it did in Colorado. And then one day, working through Proverbs the same way we are this month, I came across these words:
Whoso keepeth his mouth and tongue
keepeth his soul from trouble. (Prov. 21.23)
I memorized that couplet. Put it where I could see it often and it became a key to new freedom for me.
The “th” in keepeth is a non-voiced consonant blend and can stop everything if I let it. “Whoso keepeth—”
(Hold it right there. Don’t breathe. Good job.)
I discovered that I what I said could quickly get me in trouble, what I didn’t say never did.
How’s that feel, soul?