Vol.XV No.II Pg.1
April 1978

"Hard Of Heeding "

Robert F. Turner

"Take not heed unto all words that are spoken, lost: thou hear thy servant curse thee; for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself hast cursed others" (Eccl. 7:21).

We have read many articles telling us to guard our tongue — be careful of what you say — and we would do well to heed such advice (Jas. 3:l-f). But the Holy Spirit also advises us to guard our ears: "what ye hear" (Mk. 4:24), "flow ye hear" (Lu. 8:18). And equally important, there are times when we should not hear what we hear; i.e.; we must have magnanimity of soul" to disregard ugly things we have heard said against us.

Many years past I received a letter charging me with rash things I had not done. I was about to fire off a hot reply when a friend came by, read the letter and my proposed reply, and gave me some excellent advice. "Robert, that fellow wrote as though you were a wild-eyed fanatic. He has heard rumors, gossip — but he doesn't really know you. He has no proof of those charges, but you are about to send him a signed confirmation.'

I destroyed the "proof" and tried to conduct myself so that he would never find out how bad I really was.

We are not dogs — we do not have to bark back at every snarl. We are made in the image of God, with the capacity to love our enemies and to forgive (Matt. 5:43-f, Lu. 17:3-5). Nor is an ear that doesn't hear every thing a sign of weakness. The "chip on-his-shoulder" fellow is usually weak and unsure of himself, and feels threatened by every dart.

Solomon's advice has an earthy backdrop: forgive because you need forgiveness (Matt. 6:14-15); but God, having wronged no one, is the ultimate example of magnanimity. Sinned against, he gave His Son; who, knowing no sin, died for you and me. We can't fool God, but thank God, we do not have to. Justice is tempered with mercy, and through Christ sins are remembered against us no more.

But those who would be recipients of His mercy must "being reviled, revile not again" (1 Pet. 2:23); "take not heed unto all words spoken."