The original Mickey Mouse Club television show used to have a segment about proverbs. (For the record, I watched the reruns) I still remember the song, “Proverbs, proverbs they’re so true, proverbs tell us what to do. Proverbs help us all to be better Mouseketeers.” Believe it or not, there was a time when Disney actually thought the Bible was a good thing.
In the hit movie Bambi, there is a scene shortly after Bambi’s birth where Thumper (a small bunny) makes a comment about Bambi’s inability to walk well. Mrs. Rabbit, Thumpers Mom, asks Thumper what his Father had said earlier in the day. Thumper recalled, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” (For those of you craving a little visual cartoon wisdom, you can watch the clip here: https://bit.ly/1lhz9xv.)
Have you ever had one of those moments after you say something, that you wish you could take it back? I think all of us have. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply untrue. Words do hurt and often have longer term affects to people than broken bones.
In the first part of this series we asked, “Is it About God or is it About Me?” In the second part, “Is this Kingdom or Is this Personal?” In part 3, we sought to answer the question, “Is My Attitude in Line with God’s Heart?” In this part we test the desire to say something against the reason we feel that way.
Question 4: Why do I feel compelled to convey this message?
Whether it is for money, influence, popularity, or some other reason, there are many who interject religion or push certain religious narratives for personal financial or emotional gain. The truth is, we are all susceptible to it. When we speak or post, we want what we say to resonate and get attention. If we didn’t want anyone to read it, we wouldn’t post it. While there is nothing inherently wrong with feeling that way, we must be very careful to never compromise, altar or manipulate the Word of God for any reason.
Throughout scripture we see false prophets who manipulate God’s truth to gain followers, make money, promote doctrine more in-line with their personal sin preferences, and to control followers. Sometimes they say things out of anger or irritation. Every situation was condemned and those kinds of motivations remain abominable today.
There are times we just feel we have the right to get something off our chest. Before we do, however, we should always consider the long-term results. Will it lead people to Christ or away from Him? When we really do have something important to say, will people listen or will they be so turned off to us that we no longer have a voice in their life? Does it move the Kingdom agenda forward or backward? If we are truly Kingdom disciples, we will always want to honor, and well-represent, the King. This requires a great deal of diplomacy in the foreign land in which we live.
If I might take a little liberty with Mr. Rabbit’s advice, “If we can’t say something helpful, let’s not say anything at all.”
Next Time: “Is it about us, or them?”