BITE: His words: Restrained…

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill? v3 -> who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend; Psalms 15:1&3

I covered verse 2 yesterday which speaks of a man’s character as ‘True’ as one who shall dwell with God in His tent and on His holy hill. Today we look at verse 3 which talks about a man’s words that are ‘restrained’.

The word for slander implies ‘going around’ to spy or gossip (Gen. 42:9 and following; also, in different words, Lev. 19:16). It is closer to scandal than slander. Neighbor is a Hebrew word that can have different meanings depending on the context; here it could just mean ‘someone else’, and this middle ground fits better with the picture than proximity would. In the last phrase, ‘takes up a reproach’ could mean either ‘throws shade’ or ‘digs up something shameful’, in the sense of bringing it up unnecessarily. The whole verse expands on the idea of Proverbs 10:12: ‘Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.’

The book Respectable Sins (by Jerry Bridges) comes to mind. I have a regrettable propensity to talk about someone in the light of ‘praying for them’ when speaking to others and I am convicted by this verse in the same way I was when I read Bridge’s book. I sometimes find myself unwittingly justifying gossip because it is clothed in support through caring-through-sharing. I have prayerfully asked the Holy Spirit for a pang of conscience when I am on the cusp of doing this and I am so thankful He has. In my walk of sanctification, I want to grow to be more and more Christ-like and build the alignment of my actions around the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’.

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