Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ecclesiastes 10:20 -- On Learning to Like the King

"Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."
Ecclesiastes 10:20

This is an interesting verse.  The message here seems to be, don't speak evil, even when you think you won't be found out.  There are many other scriptures that ask us not to speak evil, for instance Titus 3:2, Jude 1:10, Acts 23:5, etc., so we know it is a bad idea.  This one though talks specifically about our thoughts.  Not only shouldn't we speak evil, but we shouldn't think it either.  Why?  Because it will be known.  Not necessarily by anyone else, although of course that can happen, but always by God.
Sometimes we think that the gospel is only a gospel of actions.  We are used to living in this world after all, and here we can't be legally condemned for our mental activities.  Our brains remain free even if our bodies are in chains.  And we kind of assume that the same freedom applies to the gospel... as long as we *do* the right things, it doesn't matter what we think.  And on one level that's totally right.  God isn't going to take away our freedom.  He loves freedom, and he doesn't seek to chain our thoughts.  However, he does know them... and beyond him knowing those things that we don't really want anyone to know, he knows what they can do to us, which is why he includes them in his instructions to us.  Thoughts lead to actions, and if we curse the king in our thoughts, it could lead to cursing him with our voice, or typing it on the internet. :)  Either way, our thoughts can get us in trouble.  And when we think things or say them in private, we should think about why.  If it's because we are part of the underground freeing people from slavery, maybe it's good.  A lot more often though, I think we keep things secret because we're ashamed of them on some level.  And if we are ashamed on some level, maybe learning to school our thoughts as well as our actions is a good idea.
Sometimes we don't think that we can change what we think... like opinions or emotions are inborn and completely non-malleable.  But God talks in many places in the scriptures (including Alma 5) about the mighty change of heart.  God can help us change internally as well as externally.  We can stop sinning AND stop wanting to sin.  We can stop speaking evil AND stop thinking evil.  Who knows, maybe we'll stop cursing the king and actually start liking him one of these days. :)
Today, let's be open to change... not just externally, but internally.  Let's talk to God, and work on getting rid of the actions and the thoughts that we are ashamed of.

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