“A false witness shall perish:
but the man that hears
An amplified paraphrase of this verse might read, “The influence of liars will eventually die because their lies cannot last for long in the light of truth; but those who listen - more than they speak - will have long lasting impact and their words will live onward, far past their lifetime.”
Contemplating on this statement reminds us that our having two ears and one mouth is an indication of how we should live; pointing to our need to listen twice as often as we speak. Living like this could help ensure that our words really matter.
Being misinformed or dispensing false information is a sure way to not be taken seriously or closely listened to for very long. This is a primary reason why hearing - more than we say - is so vitally important; including our fact checking what we hear.
Such issues remind me of the original Saturday Night Live skits when one of the characters - played by Gilda Radner - would rant and rave about some off-topic issue that she had misunderstood or knew nothing about. When her error would finally be pointed out, all Gilda would say was, “Oh! Sorry. Never mind.”
Similarly, some people often say that they “…only open their mouth to change feet.” This is an expression used when embarrassed by one’s own words or when speaking incorrectly out of turn. The remedy for this problem is not in wearing mint flavored socks but rather in simply learning to listen more than we speak; so that when we do speak, our words will carry weight.
Other folks yield to the temptation to stretch the truth in order to quickly gain influence or interest; only to have the reverse occur later. This is a sad lesson. Exaggeration is not the way to bring value to our words but accuracy is. Therefore, being able to hear attentively can ultimately helps us speak better and make our words be memorable.
As a teaching pastor, I must often double check myself and what I hear because of the importance of this issue. In these skeptical days of world history, where smart-phones are used everywhere to fact-check what we say, there has never been a time where this issue is more valid.
The era of getting away with spouting falsehoods should be over. After all, who wants to be voicing “fake news”?
PROVERBS 12:19 says, “The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
What great wisdom you have for us. Help us to grow by listening to You and others with genuine attention and not just be waiting for our turn to talk. Remind us to hush and not rush into filling space with our voices.
May we not forget that learning is what life is about and being remembered is more important than being heard.