Proverbs 12:17-19

Thoughts from Amanda Cook

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"Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
Proverbs 12:17-19

Behind the Scenes
Slide

There is a fighter pilot version of this passage, “Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut.”

In my previous life, I was in the Air Force as a Weapons Controller. I think they call them Battle Managers nowadays, but back then, we “controlled weapons.” Those weapons we “controlled” were pilots. We would watch the “war” from our radar screens, tell them where the bad guys were and what they were doing, and then “direct” them to the fight. At least in our minds that’s what we were doing.

Slide

What they really wanted was our birds eye view of the battle, a good word picture of it, and then to BE QUIET and stay off the radios. Hence the above “proverb.” You see, they needed to be able to concentrate and then communicate with the other pilots in the air. If I was on the radio constantly squawking, they couldn’t do their jobs. Honestly, I couldn’t do my job either. Because if I listened to what they were saying about what they were seeing on their radars, I could build a better, more complete picture. I could anticipate what they would need and communicate what they were missing. And then when I did communicate, it was relevant, helpful, and timely.

Make it Real (1)
Slide

And isn’t life like that? We want to give all the details, say all the words, express every feeling, and keep control of the conversations. But when we do that, we miss the whole picture. We miss what others around us are filling in about their “battle.” We miss the subtle nuances and hidden messages. We can’t monitor the whole picture and just fill in where needed because we haven’t paused long enough to listen and know what is needed.

Slide

Follow me here. In the above scenario, if I were to constantly be talking on the radio, I might miss that one of the pilots was engaged in a fight with the enemy. I might drown out crucial radio calls that would help me fill in the picture, but more importantly help the other pilots fill in the picture and be able come to help their comrade. There I am sitting in an air-conditioned room, with my feet on the floor, watching the battle. But the pilots – they are right in the thick of things. They are engaging with a real enemy and fighting for their lives. I can’t fire any weapons at the enemy; I can’t redirect the enemy’s attention. I’m basically useless – unless I’m actually listening to what is going on and filling in the gaps from an objective viewpoint.

Slide

On one hand, if I’m not careful I might make a call that actually gets the pilot killed because I wasn’t listening to all that was going on. If I redirect their attention to what is not important or if I distract them so much they don’t see the enemy, I can cause them real harm. On the other hand, if I see an enemy that the pilot is not talking about, then I better effectively communicate that information in a timely manner or the consequences are just as dire.

Slide

Let’s extend this out. Our friends are in real battles with real enemies. We chatter and prattle at them so much about what we see in our limited viewpoint, we mislead them. We have so many thoughts and speak all of them about their situation, but we are not seeing or hearing the whole picture. We’re caught up in our picture. And we throw words out there, in the way of suggestions, advice, “help”, that leave wounds and cause harm because we don’t know the whole picture. We don’t know the battle they are going through or have gone through. We can’t see that they are missing a wing and leaking fuel because we are sitting in our comfy, air-conditioned radar room.

Slide

But again, we also can’t just stop speaking altogether. We need to speak up in love when it’s important and needed. Will our words be helpful, add value, and/or honor God?

So yeah, “Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.” And really LISTEN to what is going on around you; LISTEN to what your friends are not saying; LISTEN for the Holy Spirt to guide you through those conversations; and keep listening…and then speak life.

End in prayer (1)
Slide

Father God, may my words be limited and pointed. May I always be more prone to listen and less prone to talk. Help me to hear Your words in all situations and then speak only what is helpful and glorifying to You.

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“Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

Proverbs 12:17-19

Behind the Scenes

There is a fighter pilot version of this passage, “Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut.”  

In my previous life, I was in the Air Force as a Weapons Controller. I think they call them Battle Managers nowadays, but back then, we “controlled weapons.” Those weapons we “controlled” were pilots. We would watch the “war” from our radar screens, tell them where the bad guys were and what they were doing, and then “direct” them to the fight. At least in our minds that’s what we were doing.  

What they really wanted was our birds eye view of the battle, a good word picture of it, and then to BE QUIET and stay off the radios. Hence the above “proverb.” You see, they needed to be able to concentrate and then communicate with the other pilots in the air. If I was on the radio constantly squawking, they couldn’t do their jobs. Honestly, I couldn’t do my job either. Because if I listened to what they were saying about what they were seeing on their radars, I could build a better, more complete picture. I could anticipate what they would need and communicate what they were missing. And then when I did communicate, it was relevant, helpful, and timely. 

Make it Real

And isn’t life like that? We want to give all the details, say all the words, express every feeling, and keep control of the conversations. But when we do that, we miss the whole picture. We miss what others around us are filling in about their “battle.” We miss the subtle nuances and hidden messages. We can’t monitor the whole picture and just fill in where needed because we haven’t paused long enough to listen and know what is needed.  

Follow me here. In the above scenario, if I were to constantly be talking on the radio, I might miss that one of the pilots was engaged in a fight with the enemy.  I might drown out crucial radio calls that would help me fill in the picture, but more importantly help the other pilots fill in the picture and be able come to help their comrade. There I am sitting in an air-conditioned room, with my feet on the floor, watching the battle. But the pilots – they are right in the thick of things. They are engaging with a real enemy and fighting for their lives. I can’t fire any weapons at the enemy; I can’t redirect the enemy’s attention. I’m basically useless – unless I’m actually listening to what is going on and filling in the gaps from an objective viewpoint.  

On one hand, if I’m not careful I might make a call that actually gets the pilot killed because I wasn’t listening to all that was going on. If I redirect their attention to what is not important or if I distract them so much they don’t see the enemy, I can cause them real harm. On the other hand, if I see an enemy that the pilot is not talking about, then I better effectively communicate that information in a timely manner or the consequences are just as dire.  

Let’s extend this out. Our friends are in real battles with real enemies. We chatter and prattle at them so much about what we see in our limited viewpoint, we mislead them. We have so many thoughts and speak all of them about their situation, but we are not seeing or hearing the whole picture. We’re caught up in our picture. And we throw words out there, in the way of suggestions, advice, “help”, that leave wounds and cause harm because we don’t know the whole picture.  We don’t know the battle they are going through or have gone through. We can’t see that they are missing a wing and leaking fuel because we are sitting in our comfy, air-conditioned radar room.  

But again, we also can’t just stop speaking altogether. We need to speak up in love when it’s important and needed. Will our words be helpful, add value, and/or honor God?   

So yeah, “Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.” And really LISTEN to what is going on around you; LISTEN to what your friends are not saying; LISTEN for the Holy Spirt to guide you through those conversations; and keep listening…and then speak life.

Colleen McGeorge

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Devo Team

End in Prayer

Father God, 

May my words be limited and pointed. May I always be more prone to listen and less prone to talk. Help me to hear Your words in all situations and then speak only what is helpful and glorifying to You. 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

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