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The wink of death

Evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil. Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships. Violent people deceive their friends and lead them to disaster. Watch out for people who grin and wink at you; they have thought of something evil.

Proverbs 16 : 27 - 30 (GNB)

What I think is interesting in this passage is the order that the traits of an evil person are listed. We see that spoken things (such as gossip, slander and hurtful comments) take the top spot, only followed later by physical abuse and violence. I think this has been done on purpose. Not to belittle violence, which we know to be wrong, but to highlight the unseen harm that can be caused through our use of words.

With physical aggression the impact of your action is usually immediate and obvious. For example if you punch someone it is quite likely that you will get a reaction from them almost instantly. They may yell with pain, stumble or possibly punch you back.

Whereas if you slag someone off, gossip about them or hurl a torrent of verbal abuse the impact may not be as apparent. Their reaction may be subtle, they may appear not to care, but the real damage is on the inside where no one else can see.

Just think of how you feel when someone says nasty things about you, or when you overhear (or think you hear) people gossiping about you. You might not immediately burst into tears, or shout back. You may pretend not to notice, but inside chances are you feel hurt by what you have heard.

Gossip can feel like a normal and acceptable thing to do. Just look at the tabloids and glossy magazines down at the supermarket, you will find that gossip forms the basis of much, if not most, of their content. But this does not make it right and certainly doesn't make it Godly.

This week before you open your mouth remember these three words "don't be evil". Instead of gossiping put your words to good use, say something nice to build someone up! Have a great week.

This week's song is Keep your eyes open by NEEDTOBREATHE.

Header image by: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr