As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks. Proverbs 25, verse 23.
Will start with (yet another) maudlin confession since (I must confess) some of these writings are a way to publicly confess things that bother me while submitting them to God – and to you – so that better things might come because of Him. That’s a wordy sentence. I’ve been rightfully accused of being a sly, slick talker. It’s no secret that I love to write and talk, but some have accused me of using whatever talent I have with those faculties to be devious, mischievous, and cunning, maybe even deceitful. Guilty on all counts. Guilty and, as we talked about a few days ago, letting go of that guilt, being convicted of my guilt by the Spirit, and learning to be better.
Is it any wonder that a devious, mischievous, cunning or deceitful word would bring an angry stare? After all, if people love us, shouldn’t they be angry with us when we are sly like that, whether we design to be or not? If you’re like me and you’ve been sly for a long time, it almost becomes a second nature. It translates into flirting (which I have to watch). It becomes casual conversation (which I’m learning to guard). It can give false impressions (which I pray I never do). It is ungodly (which I am). Even if you aren’t sly by nature, I’m betting you occasionally slip and fall into the cunning category; good people make mistakes too. Whether it’s a long-standing behavior or a temporary fault, is it any wonder when someone calls you on it? God says it isn’t, and (obviously, through this verse) that it’s natural for people to get upset with us when we are less than righteous to them.
What about the other part of the verse? What does “as a north wind brings rain” really mean? Here in North Texas, we badly need rain. This is the worst drought in the six years I’ve lived here (seven if you count that most-of-a-year in 85-86). That Louisiana tropical storm blew more than just winds of change into my life: it blew in cooler weather, and I’m happy to report that our highs this week haven’t gone beyond the mid-80s (sort of like my taste in music). A north wind can bring cooler weather and needed rain, and needed rain can be harsh at first. It can seem cold, scathing, penetrating, even unwelcome. It can seem to be all those things until it cools down hot temperatures (and tempers), and it waters the needy earth so that growth can happen again.
Rain from a north wind can be shocking but good for the soul, you know.
So can be those angry stares at the woman or man with the sly tongue. It can be shocking but healthy to see someone for what they are; it can be helpful when people you value are righteously angry with you. With the love of God in good friends, we might just open up to God changing us and working His miracles in our lives.
At least that’s what happens with me. Of course it’s back to me and my egotistical maudlin confessions; hey, I’m the scribe in this column. I’m a work in progress, and it’s no easy thing to do the easy thing of letting God take over your heart to change you from within. Good people prayed with me this week to give me the strength to resist negative change and to be daily convicted when I’m over the line. Conviction of the wrongs we do lets the healing begin, changing the sly tongue into a supporting one, changing devious words into divine ones. If good can come from my confessions and God’s using them through words like these, then glory be to Him and not me. It’s nice to be able to say that without someone staring angrily back.