Be Discerning

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Read Proverbs Chapter 5

“Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double edged sword.” Proverbs 5:3-4 CSB

I can’t help but think of the Southern analogy, “Bless your heart.” I’m from the north. I moved to the south over 25 years ago. I learned quickly when someone told me, “Bless your heart,” it had a double meaning. I didn’t understand it can be a passive aggressive way of insulting someone. Typically in the north, we’re a little more direct. For instance, I recently spent the weekend with college friends, some I hadn’t seen in almost 32 years. My one girlfriend told me I “married up”. And she’s right, I definitely did. I knew exactly what she meant, no hidden agenda.

Words can have so many different meanings. Especially when you look behind the obvious meaning. The forbidden woman in this verse means “to turn aside; to be a foreigner”. She is using her words to draw you away from the path you should take, trying to convince you to follow her into bitterness.

Advertisements do this all the time. The ads for exercise equipment, filled with beautifully toned bodies, leading you to believe if you use whatever machine they’re selling, you’ll have the same results. All of the food commercials, tempting and persuading you to eat unhealthy things. During political campaigns, there are countless messages trying to persuade you to vote for their candidate.

It can be difficult to decipher all of the different messages we receive from so many different sources. Recognizing the truth in a statement can be tricky. It is always wise to consider the source. Who is giving the message? What are their motives? How will this truly affect my life? Asking questions can help lead you to the truth. Trusting your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t right. How does it compare to what scripture says? If it doesn’t line up with scripture, discard it. Ask a trusted friend what they think. Someone who will tell you the truth, not just agree with you.

Bottom line: Be discerning. Don’t believe everything you hear. Look beneath the surface to find the truth.

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