Typical. Sent in my last blog (A Lot of Gas) then thought of something else I could have added relevant to to unwise spoken word. It also is based on words from Proverbs and this may not be verbatim but it goes like this, “Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt!” I have always found some amusement in that one though it is doubtless sound policy at times.
As a rule, we do not go round openly calling someone a fool to their face and yet Jesus did so, even going so far as to calling the Pharisees ,”You blind fools” (Matt 23:17) In fact this insult is set in a passage, a real pasting, in which he is having a right go at them. Fast forward to v:33 and they are called a “brood of vipers”. Musing on this, if Jesus could use this kind of language then there are times when it must be OK for a preacher to be forthright – but we don’t do that do we? Not these days, we would be quickly sent on our way. Listeners to sermons or other kinds of public speaking do not want to hear such things – how dare they say that! Preachers would do this right down the years into the early 20th century then within a short space of time it gradually became unacceptable. It is said that the truth can hurt. Yes, but Scripture suggests that there is a time and place for it. The apostle Paul teaches that if you see your Christian brother/sister going the wrong way then you should pay a visit and endeavour, in love, to put them back on the straight and narrow. This is for their own good and their salvation may depend on the correction. Serious thought.
Readers of Shakespeare’s works will know that the Court Fool would often be forthright, insulting or making fun of those around him, it went with the territory, though I would add that many a time only the Fool could get away with it. The following quote, taken from A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not one of Puck’s insulting lines for he was more of a mischievous sprite but just a example I offer in the hope that it makes you smile as I did.
“The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.”
Back to preaching and telling it like it is. How would you feel if a preacher, any preacher, were to say what he/she would really like to. Would it be a case of ‘Fools rushing in where even angels fear to tread?