“Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.” (Ecclesiastes 7:21,22)
What do others think of you? What are they saying behind your back? Do you really want to know?
James counsels us to be “swift to hear.” (James 1:19) Does this mean we should be hasty to hear some juicy piece of gossip; or over-anxious to find out what someone is saying about us?
Our heart is kept as we guard the gates of our eyes and ears. There are some things we are better off not knowing. But you say: “What if another is against me? What if they are planning some evil toward me? Shouldn’t I be aware of it?”
David was not paranoid. He had real enemies, and yet he prayed to be kept from a spirit of fear: “Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.” (Psalm 64:1) Surely, a king has plenty to fear, both in and outside his court. Saul was driven mad by fears of conspiracy. But wise Solomon knew that to be spying on his servants was not wise.
A prudent pastor of mine once said, “If we knew how little people were thinking about us, we wouldn’t worry how much they’re thinking about us.” But what if they really do have a negative view of us? Solomon’s advice is that it’s better not to know who is “cursing” you. The Hebrew word “curse” here means to “deem another of little account, insignificant, or despicable.”
The Apostle Paul was “cursed” by many in Corinth. They didn’t think much of him. And what was his response: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment” (1 Cor. 4:3). Because only God’s judgment mattered to the great man, he counted his insignificance in men’s eyes as insignificant. King Solomon, who was as curious as they come, simply didn’t want to know, and therefore chose not to put his ear to the door. He was well aware that people, including himself, have all kinds of opinions, whether they voice them or not.
The wise are not those who seek after any and all knowledge; they are those who know what knowledge to seek after. Be wise. Guard your eyes, and ears. Protect your heart.