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Love stands in the presence of a fault

With our myriad times in schools, I’ve seen a variety of teachers silence her classroom with a single finger to her lips. Like miniature puppets, each child immediately placed his or her finger over the mouth and — instantly — silence covered the noise.

If it works that well for a classroom, why wouldn’t it work for everyone? A finger to the lips and the tongue becomes prisoner.

A real world changer would be Christians silencing every piece of gossip or “I heard” story with a finger to the lips.

But that’s so hard. There’s something in our fleshly nature that makes “juicy” talk so intriguing and addictive. A whisper can draw us quicker than a loud speaker turned to peak volume.

We’re taught to abstain from gossip, from repeating hearsay or rumors. We’ve learned the admonition to test all communication with: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Still, tongues turn into slayers, and words are spoken, never to be retrieved.

Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892, was a Baptist preacher from England who was known as the “Prince of Preachers.” I prefer to call him the “Able Author.” I’ve read his books, including his sermons and devotionals. His words are powerful, even in the printed form.

This week I read one of his quotes:  “Love stands in the presence of a fault with a finger on its lips.” Then I reread it and read it again. Then I wrote it down in a journal so I could refer to it again.

How profound. It paraphrases a verse from the love chapter in 1 Corinthians: “Love is kind; . . . is not rude . . . does not keep a record of wrongs . . . finds no joy in unrighteousness.” Love presses a finger on its lips instead of spreading “talk” or condemning.

The quote reminds me of Jesus when the religious leaders tried to trap him when they brought an adulteress to him. Jesus’ words were few; and there was no condemnation for the woman. He simply stooped down and began writing on the ground with his finger.

It’s been an endless search and theory as to what He wrote. I think Spurgeon may have discovered it: “Love stands in the presence of a fault with a finger on its lips.”

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camilleanding@gmail.com.