Anglican Morning Devotion, 25 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches Worldwide
“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.”
(Luke 11:34-35; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13)
When I was a child, there was an ugly little statuette that was displayed on a table in my bedroom. It was a clay figure of three monkeys with the notation beneath – See no evil, Speak no evil, Hear no evil. So very simple, yet, so profoundly wise. The proverb is said to have originated in ancient China.
Later, my blessed old French professor (Prof B. L. Hale) was fond of quoting a little poem of similarly profound wisdom:
The wise old owl sat high in the oak,
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why aren’t we all like that old bird.
This poem was printed on posted by the US Army during World Wars 1 & 2 to remind of the importance of security concerns in loose language. It was a favorite quote of President Calvin Coolidge.
Well, Professor Hale was far more gifted at speaking than of listening. He told us many old stories and proverbs that we were required to translate into French that he often forgot to check.
Remember, everyone in earshot is not necessarily entitled, or interested, in your opinion. More damage has been done to our fellow man by idle gossip and expressed anger than any other single factor. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26) It is wise to remain in silent thought prior to speaking words of profound importance. A mise man will consider what effect his words may have before he speaks them – ‘will a greater good be the result instead of a greater ruin, and are his words true?’ “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” (Exodus 20:16) is one of the most often violated Commandments of the Ten; however, even truth spoken carelessly can also do great damage. Silence is sometimes the best and most compassionate path.
“The light of the body is the eye.” (Matthew 6:22) What beauty can be perceived through this amazing organ. The beauty of God’s Creation is endless. A morning sunrise, a falling star, a serene mountain pasture, the sweet laughter of little children – these are all perceived through the eye and hearing sense. But for every pleasant and beautiful scene, Satan has provided a contrary view for the eye. That view will be darkness which enters into the eye – pornography, shedding the blood of the innocent, false worship, etc. Those usually come by way of the growing darkness of the night. It is for this reason that the elect of God are the Children of the Light and not of the night. Sin prefers darkness to hide its hideous nature.
That which we make available for our senses to see, hear, and speak will determine our character and commitment to righteousness. “Be careful little feet where you go,” is from a child’s Sunday school hymn, but its meaning applies to those of us of all ages. Our feet can carry us into venues that unnecessarily expose us to temptation. God tempts no man, but we certainly are capable of exposing ourselves to temptation.
Whatever enters into our ears can also profoundly affect who we are and what influence what we do. But there is one subject that can more profoundly affect who we are more than any other subject – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
There is forever a kind of speech that is always efficacious to the listener and to all who hear: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15)