“To the physician,” writes, Chuck Swindoll, “it’s merely a two-ounce slab of mucous membrane…But the tongue is as volatile as it is vital…[It is ] verbal cyanide. A lethal, relentless, flaming missile which assaults with hellish power, blistering and destroying at will.”
So, because the tongue is both a help and a hindrance in communication, we are wise to be careful who has our ear — who we listen to for counsel and instruction, and we are wise to be diligent in truthfulness.
Be wise in who you heed as a counselor is an admonition repeated several times in Proverbs:
- A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (18:24)
- Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. (27:6)
- Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend. Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away. (27:9-10)
We do well to remember that these words were spoken by Solomon to his son(s) — they were his warning about both the kind and quantity of friends and confidants his son should select. He should select friends that are spiritually perceptive enough to be able to see through the veneer of his life and rebuke and exhort him to righteousness. These friends should not be men who would only affirm what he wants to hear. And he and they should have a reciprocally faithful relationship to each other — the friendship is not easily lost!
Given the pointed way that Solomon addresses his son, we must also recognize the validity and wisdom in being proactive in helping our children select their friends — helping them choose friends that will stimulate them in godly ways and not ungodly relationships. I am reminded of the wise words of E. V. Hill when he spoke of his children’s friends and dating relationships: “Some of these relationships need to be broken up!” Solomon would agree.
But not only should children be wise in how they select as friends, but they should also be scrupulous in truthfulness. Truthfulness is important because lies and deceit are an abomination to God [the following list is expanded from a list by Gordon Lewis in Focal Point (Summer, 1995)]:
- Lies are antithetical to the character of God (Num. 23:19)
- Lies are contrary to God’s revealed will (Lev. 6:1-7)
- Lies sabatoge one’s integrity (1 Tim. 4:2)
- Lies do damage to others (Prov. 14:25)
- Lies do not conform to reality, they twist and pervert it (Prov. 12:5)
- Lies have their source in Satan, our sworn enemy (Mt. 5:37; Jn. 8:44)
- Lies are at odds with a primary function of the church (1 Tim. 3:15)
- Lies break our fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:6-10)
“To love God passionately is to love truth passionately. Being God-centered in life means being truth-driven in ministry. What is not true is not of God. What is false is anti-God. Indifference to the truth is indifference to the mind of God.…Our concern with truth is simply an echo of our concern with God. And all this is rooted in God’s concern with God, or God’s passion for the glory of God.”
So as you shepherd your children, lead them to choose friends who will speak godly truth to them, and train them to speak godly truth to others. It is, after all, for the glory of God.