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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Tuesday, August 25

Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows, so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”
—Proverbs 26:18

How often have we said something that sounds plausible, but that doesn't really mean what it seems to convey? Our words, though superficially acceptable, are masking our true feelings in a shallow deception. Because we are insincere, and are hoping to imply something negative without saying it outright, our actions are even more insidious than if we had simply spoken a detrimental truth direct from our heart.

Consider this example: Someone arrives at a fancy dinner party inappropriately dressed, and we say to them, “Oh, you must have thought we were having a cookout!”  The person begins to defend themselves, and we break in, “Oh, I was just joking.  You look great!” We smile and offer a soft laugh to try to prove that our words are true.  

Such comments litter our conversations. We often use words to hide our true emotions and mask the real intent of our heart. Because they are so common, such comments hardly inspire any reflection at all. T hey seem so regular, so natural—just innocuous interchanges that carry no substance. Yet underneath the seemingly innocent words, we are unleashing arrows on the other person, and we are suffering the slow debilitating breakdown of our own soul.

Instead of hiding the truth with insincere phrases, we would do better to check our soul before we speak. Check to see if what we feel is worthy of comment. Check to see if we can say what needs to be said truthfully.  Check to see if we can speak the way God might speak to us. One thing is sure. If we checked ourselves, when we did speak, we would find our words softened by the heart of heaven.

Gracious God, let my words reflect the truth in my heart and let me speak that truth with tenderness.