First, Count to Ten... or Maybe to a Million

A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11)

Perhaps you have one of these in your life — that friend who speaks without thinking. Those of us with more reserved natures may look askance at those who are continually verbal as if they had a defect, but God made us all unique… and who can say whether or not the gift of a quiet spirit is superior to intrepidness; after all, within our natural personality variations there is no right or wrong way to be… but there is still a right way to behave… and those who speak without first engaging their God-given filters risk being called fools by God and man.

Life on earth would be difficult without filters. God designed our bodies with respiratory filters, fluid filters and various mechanisms to self-clean these structures. Industrial workers follow God’s lead by using respiratory filters to tame the irritants that modern life creates. On a larger scale, the earth itself has vast filtering systems which we (as “subduers” of the earth) increasingly stress — wreaking havoc via our industrial and agricultural pollutants.

But every filtering system has a common element — flow. We live in an analog world, and pollutants — be they physical, spiritual or emotional — move through time; therefore, filters must function over time to be useful, and the longer they remain in the system, the more debris they capture. It works this way for speech, too; we should filter all data before speaking, and reserving our instant responses for the occasional “LOOK OUT!” — and realize that we have plenty of time to pass our output through our filters. But a fool tends not to do this; indeed, one sign of a fool is that he “uttereth all his mind:”

Some filters might not look the part, though — like the cycle of the heavens. God established this cycle (as well as its effects below like the tides, the seasons and day and night) as part of a filtering system — because he used this template to mark out certain sacerdotal events for his people. He established the Sabbath day, the Sabbath year and the year of Jubilee. He also established “feasts” throughout the year which forced a pause upon the land… and hopefully… upon the heart.  You see, God knows that people require rest… lest they kill themselves in endless activity.

Let me ask you this; where you live, what is closed and when? Or do you live in 24/7 — open all day, every day — type of world? God’s enemies seek to choke-out all of his holy provisions — but especially worship, family and pace of life. Such violations caused ancient Israel’s captivities… and they embody ours. You see, pace itself is a filter; it’s just a filter by another name. So with filtering in view, let us reexamine the wise man and the fool.

A fool lets-it-fly and a wise man keeps it in… but until afterward. Until after what? Until after the filtering. The wise person passes all of life through prayer, godly studies, fellowship and service… and barring imminent danger, no one has to utter his mind instantly.

The world is indeed an evil place — it’s full of gunk — and this stresses even God’s systems. But this is why we call a man a fool who bypasses God's filters — and that is America’s problem. As we continue to walk away from (or more accurately, walk around) God’s provisions, we will walk assuredly toward ungodliness — towards violence and unrest… I mean, just look around.

But God has already done his job; the systems are in place… we just need to let them work. But a fool is proactive in his folly. He goes out of his way to bypass the filters — and in so doing, he brings captivity upon himself… and he brings the risk of captivity upon his people.

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