Proverbs 30:32 – “If thou hast done foolishly [disgraced; dishonored; failed; withered] in lifting up [honoring; promoting] thyself, or if thou hast thought evil [plan; devise; plot; purpose], lay thine hand [power] upon thy mouth [lit. speech; counsel; utterance].”
Solomon has a truth for those given to self-idolization—“thou has done foolishly in lifting up thyself” (30:32a).
Excessive, narcissistic self-promotion has become a way of life for Americans consumed with themselves, self-portraits (i.e. selfies) and dialoging their private lives on public social media platforms. What was once the bane of secret diaries tucked discreetly in a dresser drawer for no one to read has become the fare for social media walls.
Some post selfies on Facebook leaving me to wonder what people are thinking when they post a picture best described as unflattering. Adding to the mystery is that friends and family offer the obligatory “Like” to the disastrous selfie leaving the rest of the world wondering what you see that we do not see. Many selfies reveal what we already know—we often see in our mirror what we want to see!
I will carry a similar theme forward as we consider the second part of Proverbs 30:32 – “if thou hast thought evil [plan; devise; plot; purpose], lay thine hand [power] upon thy mouth [lit. speech; counsel; utterance].”
“Open mouth, insert foot” or “foot-in-mouth disease” as some might describe it, is the haunt of humanity. An evil desire, thought, opinion or plan can rise up in the heart of us all, but it is what we do next that can save us from scars and scandals.
Solomon, acknowledging the conception of an evil thought toward another, exhorted his son “lay thine hand upon thy mouth” (30:32b). In other words, before you speak or act in an unconscionable manner you will surely regret—stop your mouth and weigh your words.
Consider a simple shepherd’s warning: The things you say and write will follow you and what you “post, like and share” on Facebook today may haunt you tomorrow!
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith