A Little Bird Told Me
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
Photo of the common Kingfisher: It is a common visitor to Singapore. It usually arrives in September and stays on till April. Its size is about 19 cm with wings of about 7.5 cm in length on each side. Taken by Rev Tan Eng Boo at Satay by the Bay (Singapore).
Ecclesiastes 10:20 (ESV) says:
“Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.”
You cannot work evil so secretly that it will not be known!
Careless words have a way of being discovered. Solomon is saying here that it is dangerous to curse the one who rules over you. Even if you curse him in private, someone might hear, and tell him. In the days of the kings, this could cost you your head.
I am reminded of the words of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, when He said in Luke 12:2-3 (ESV),
“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”
We should always be careful of what we say to one another, especially if we are gossiping about someone. Such practice is not God-honoring. It only fuels strife and disunity in the church. God’s word warns us in Matthew 12:36-37 (ESV), "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
"A little bird told me" is also a phrase used when "one does not want to reveal the source of the information that one is about to share or has shared” (The Free Dictionary). Although this phrase is not seen in the Bible, the root of it is taken from this verse. It is always easy to tell people, “a little bird told me” when we should be stopping that “little bird” from speaking and hurting or spreading rumours about someone. If we come across such “birds”, be careful. Here is a “bird” who does not want to be identified after passing on the information, be it true or false.
I have met such persons and so have you. If the church were to have peace and unity everyone must make an effort not to be “this little bird.” The 9th Commandment says: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). The Bible is very explicit to tell us “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)).
The next time you hear from such a person, tell the gossiper that you will go and tell it back to the very person who had first spoken the gossip and that you will also reveal the source of the gossip. I did that once and the person stopped gossiping immediately.
May this be our prayer:
Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”