There are many benefits to living in the modern technological world that we do, but every benefit usually has a problem to counter-balance it. One of these benefit-problem balances, as I see it, is the ability to have our voices heard. Never before has anyone been able to enter the global conversation as easily as they can now. Anyone with access to a computer and the internet can speak what is on their heart and mind. Any message anyone wishes to speak can be broadcast to the farthest corners of the globe. If you speak love, truth, and acceptance, you can reach a global audience from your living room. But here is where the problems arise, for if you wish to speak hate, falsehood, and racism, that message can cover the globe from the very same living room. Given that there are roughly 7.5 billion people on the earth (go to http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ if you want to see the current population estimate), the din and cacophony from every voice ringing around the globe becomes deafening.
How can we silence the evil voices and keep the good? How do we know which voice, or voices, to which we should listen? Surely there are some good voices out there in the midst of the bad ones. Surely it must be an easy task to identify the truth from falsehood. Surely we are all wise enough to do such a thing. Surely…
The older I become the more I realize that our filters are often merely our own prejudice and bias. We listen to those things that fit the context in which we were born and in which we currently live, deciding that those voices must be the ones ringing with truth. And when we hear those speaking outside of our world we suspect them of coming from some level of ignorance of the big picture, springing from a hidden bias, or possibly of being outright evil in nature. But it rarely occurs to us they hear our voices all the while thinking the very same thing.
So who is right? Which voice rings true? Which voices is false?
I think the answer to these questions is so obvious that most of us don’t recognize it or care to ponder it even if we do recognize it.
The psalmist says that everyone is unfaithful and there are no honest people among the human race. Each one of us, he goes on to say, lies to our neighbors and harbors deception in our heart.
Each one of us. Think about that for a moment.
Each of us is a liar and is dishonest. Each of us deceives the world around us. Each one of us.
This means that of the roughly 7.5 billion people on earth there are NONE who speak the truth. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but foremost of them all is that each one of us has a deceitful heart, and from our deceitful heart comes our thoughts and our speech. 7.5 billion corrupted voices ringing out their hateful gongs creates quite the dissonant tune. It is for this reason, I believe, that the psalmist prays to God that he “silence the flattering lips and every boastful tongue.”
The cry of a few hundred deceitful voices is more than I can handle, let alone the cry of a few billion! To be honest, when I hear them I want to shut my door, turn off the computer, stop reading anything from the news, and find a silent place of isolation where no voice can reach me. And I’m suspecting that if you are being honest, you’ve felt the same way.
But the psalmist doesn’t suggest that we hopelessly isolate ourselves and hide in the quiet dark places of the earth. Instead he tells us there is one voice worth listening to. He says, “The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” He tells us the voice of the Lord is the only perfect voice. He tells us his voice will silence the rabble and bring clarity to all situations. He tells us his is the voice to which we need listen when “what is vile is honored by the human race.”
I don’t mean to say we should run around the world squelching other people’s voices. The psalmist asks the Lord to silence the world’s corrupted voices and evil actions: he doesn’t assume the right to do so himself. Rather, this psalm is a prayer between its author and God and is a personal plea. He values the gold and silver words coming from the mouth of God knowing that when he listens to them they will help to silence at least one corrupted voice in the world: his own.