Do we have a problem with listening to too much? Sometimes we hear things said about us that are really none of our business. Why do we listen, and why do we take these words to heart? Solomon teaches us a hard lesson in Ecclesiastes 7:21, but it’s a lesson that will help us immensely if learned.
The Holy Spirit inspired the following: “Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee.” What a lesson! In a time when we want to hear all, and when social media allows us to hear it, let’s go back and listen to Solomon. He reminds us that this isn’t always a good idea! “Take no heed” means essentially, don’t take it seriously. I’ve had to tell people (and tell myself), “consider the source!” This is the essence of Ecclesiastes 7:21.
Don’t listen, nor take to heart everything that falls out of someone’s mouth (or keyboard). An enemy doesn’t have your best interests in mind, anyway. Someone may ask, “What if it’s a friend saying harmful things?” As someone once told me, “Hateful statements are sometimes made by kind people.” We don’t always know what a person’s disposition is when they say things. You may be the nearest person to criticize when a friend is angry! Someone has said, “He was in the line of fire.” Listen, dear one -- “take no heed”!
As I thought about Ecclesiastes 7:21, I also thought about the other side of this “coin.” You see, it’s true that harmful statements can be made in a moment, and yes, there are times when a person does damage with his sharp tongue (Jas. 3:2, 5-6, 8; Ecc. 5:6; Prov. 26:18-19). Yet, have we ever thought about the fact that perhaps some of the damage could’ve been lessened if we’d not taken it the way we did? Maybe there would’ve been no lasting damage done if, after we have heard someone say something, that we remembered the words, “For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others” (Ecc. 7:22)!
In other words, before we get too offended at what someone has said about us, remember that we probably did the same thing already! Did you mean it, or was your mouth in gear while your brain was in neutral? Were you angry, and this person was just the easiest “target”? Maybe that’s what happened to our friend, too. Think the best about people instead of thinking the worst (I Cor. 13:7). See how your life is bettered for it!
I know it is a hard pill to swallow in a society that prefers “information overload,” but sometimes, the best advice is: “Don’t listen!” You’ll be happier when you don’t have your nose in other people’s business. Furthermore, the one who said something hateful will have some time to calm down, reflect, and repent before things get worse. Isn’t this the way we live Matthew 7:12 and 22:39?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Ecclesiastes 4:9 reminds us that, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Solomon says that two are better than one because if one falls, the other can pick him up (v. 10). Two together bring (beneficial) heat (v. 11), and two and even three together can withstand enemies when they come (v. 12).
This section of Ecclesiastes reminds us that man is a social creature. God made man in such a way that he needs the companionship of others. Companionship is one reason for marriage (Gen. 2:18). Some consider it the main reason for marriage, and I would not disagree. Companionship is why we have friends (Prov. 18:24). Refusing friendships and social interaction with others is not normal to our way of life, and is why it is so odd when someone wishes to be a “hermit.” While it is true that men need to be alone at times, this person cannot live like this for months and years at a time and remain healthy.
In his writing, Solomon tells us that there is a need for companionship. We must have those who will support, care, love, and keep us in “check.” Do you have someone like this in your life? If you have more than one person who fills this role, you are truly blessed.
Do you fill this role for others? What kind of friend are you? “Two are better than one” is true, so long as both people have the same goals! We need people that are going to help us go to Heaven. This is necessary with our friends, and it is especially needed when we are choosing a mate (Matt. 19:4-6). We need a spouse who will help us go to Heaven so that we can be “heirs together of the grace of life” (I Pet. 3:7).
Satan tries his best to tempt us and lure us away from the Lord. Peter describes him as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). One way the lion devours is by finding the weak, the young, the ones who cannot stay with the “herd” and killing and devouring his prey. It is the same today, spiritually. Thus, a reason we need others is that we might help one another fight Satan’s advances. If one would fall (spiritually), his friend can help lift him up and get him back on the right track (Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20).
Who are your friends?
Is Jesus your friend (Jn. 14:15, 15:14)? Remember, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Now, read Romans 5:6-8. Christ had shown Himself to be a friend before we ever loved Him. How are you treating Him now?
If Christ is your friend:
- You will have a “good reward for your labor” (Ecc. 4:9; I Cor. 15:58; II Tim. 4:8).
- He will lift you up (Ecc. 4:10; Jas. 4:10; I Pet. 5:6).
- He will benefit us on earth as well as in Heaven (Ecc. 4:11; Matt. 6:25-33; Rev. 22:14).
- He will help us prevail over Satan (Ecc. 4:12; Jas. 4:7-8; I Cor. 15:57).
“Two are better than one.” Who are your friends?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs