Tarnished Sterling

Much has been made of Donald Sterling’s recorded comments concerning African-Americans.  As the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, a team composed of over 90 per cent African-Americans, those comments were splashed all over all major newspapers and television networks even though these were statements made in a private setting.  Needless to say, a hue and cry came from throughout the country.  Donald Sterling was universally condemned for his comments, the NBA fined him, banned him from the NBA for life and set a hearing to vote him out of the league and force the sale of his team.  What a punishment for comments made in private.  I wonder how many people who condemned Mr. Sterling could afford to have many of their private comments aired before the American people?

Does anyone believe that God was shocked by those comments?   “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” Psalm 94:11.  God is aware of our very thoughts and we are responsible for them.  Jesus reminded us that, “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Luke 8:17.  We need to consider that whatever we speak to anyone at anytime might be publically pronounced for the world to know.  Jesus said as much, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:2-3.  The Message Bible phrased Luke 12:3 this way “You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.”

I am certain that Mr. Sterling did not expect his conversation to be shouted from the housetops, but who does.  If Mr. Sterling had read Proverbs 13:3 he would have known that “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”  The Message Bible notes Proverbs 13:3 as “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” We need to monitor our mouths in private as well as in public.  Paul offered  this advice, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6.

When it comes to conduct with our mouth, we need to heed Proverbs 21:23, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” We need to think about what we are going to say before we say it.  As one person noted, “Make sure your brain is operating before you put your tongue in gear.”

The Message Bible sets forth James 3:5-6 as “……….It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony into chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” (emphasis supplied) The power of words is great whether public or private.  With today’s technology is anything we say or do really private? Let’s hear the final verse in Ecclesiastes, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. 12:14. (emphasis supplied)


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