Did you hear about the old man who suffered serious hearing problems for over a decade before finally going to a specialist? As it turned out, he was a perfect candidate for hearing aids. He was tested, fitted with the devices, and restored to practically perfect hearing.
When he returned to the clinic for a checkup six months later, his doctor asked, "Is your family excited about the marvelous improvement in your ability to hear?"
"Oh, I haven't told them about it!" replied the fellow. "I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I've changed my will three times so far."
Some people must think the people around them are deaf. They criticize and make unkind remarks. They try to make themselves look good by tearing others down. It is a fundamental mark of personal insecurity when someone makes a habit of defaming others - whether in politics, business, or personal relationships.
Isn't it strange how often some hateful thing one says about another behind his back finds its way to the person? Thus the Bible says: "Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird of the air may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say" (Ecclesiastes 10:20).
Children certainly aren't as hard of hearing as some parents seem to think. Call a child "clumsy," "stupid," or "bad" enough times, and the word becomes a label. More than that, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. "If that's what my Dad (or Mom) thinks of me," reasons a child, "why should I try to be anything else?"
And some people must think God can't hear them either. The obscene and irreverent language that comes from their mouths testifies to the fact that they either don't believe the Lord is truly everywhere or that he is deaf to their profanity.
When Scottish theologian John Baillie taught at Edinburgh University, it is said that he regularly opened his course on the doctrine of God with these words: "We must remember, in discussing God, that we cannot talk about him without his hearing every word we say. We may be able to talk about others behind their backs, but God is everywhere -- yes, even in this classroom.
Therefore in all our discussions we must be aware of his infinite presence and talk about him, as it were, before his face."
No wonder the Bible says: "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity" Proverbs 21:23.
Be careful what you say this week.
Someone will hear every word.