Pastoral Letter 12 Jun 2022
My dear readers,
From Winking to Prating!
Proverbs 10:10: “He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.”
In most antithetical parallelisms in Proverbs, they teach contrasts between the first line and the second line. However, in Proverbs 10:10 it is not a contrast of opposites but a heightening of transgression. If one were to commit the sin stated in the first line and refuses to repent, then the sin will lead to a greater sin that is more harmful to both the sinner and his victims!
The sin stated in the first line is of winking his eyes. Sometimes we wink our eyes as a cheeky harmless gesture to tease a child. That act might evoke from the child a giggle or a stern look but it is a harmless play with a child. But if we as adults wink at other adults and even children with an evil motive, then the warning is clear to both the sinner and the recipient. The wink will bring sorrow.
The sinful wink is to seduce. To catch the eye of the girl across the room, one may resort to the wink. This draws attention without saying a word. The message is to want to know her. Is the girl interested? If she is, then she winks in return. Such communication is meant to be secretive and only the ones who are closely watching will observe the wink. No one knows that two persons want to know each other better. This is in contrast to walking over and introducing oneself properly where all around them can see the open invitation of wanting to know the other person better. It is done in the “light” for all to see without any hidden motive.
There are winks to deceive. When the wink to deceive is made after certain covenants have been made, the intention is to break the covenant. This is just a ruse to deceive. What is spoken and agreed upon means nothing. The wink-er has no intention to keep his part of the agreement. The “agreement” is made to lower the guard of the other person, or to appeal to his greed by promising a huge profit. In the end the victim can be cheated of his life savings! The “wink” to deceive is commonly found in this dog-eat-dog world. It is a world without ethics. Lying is the name of the game. The yea is nay and the nay is yea. Everything else is evil. Nothing good can come out of this world of lies and deception.
We wink to communicate stealthily. We do so when we have something to hide. It is like a secret signal designed to hide from others the true intent of an action.
It could also be understood in the figurative sense as well. When vows and covenants are broken, the person is charged with making them with the wink of his eye! He had no intention of keeping it, otherwise he would not have broken it. For example, when the marriage vow was made with the promise to keep it till death parts, and then it is broken by an unrepentant act of adultery, the culprit could be said to have winked his eye when he made the vow. He lied!
The sorrow he causes is varied. He hurts himself and the people who believe him. It depends on the occasion. In the case of a broken marriage, it is devastating especially when children are involved. Their young lives are fractured forever by the parents’ broken marriage! They can be healed in Christ, but the pain may still haunt them as they are permanently reminded of the painful divorce! If it is a broken business partnership, money is lost and friendship is often turned into foe-ship. The best of friends have become the worst of enemies!
Keeping one’s word is one of the many hallmarks of a godly Christian. Godly Christians must show to the world that there is a God who cannot lie because His children do not lie. Children of God must not wink when they speak, figuratively or literally!
The worse of the two is that of the “prating fool.” This word “fool” is not the same as the one in Psalm 53:1: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” (cf. Ps 14:1) The fool in Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 refers to one who is impious like Nabal. The word “fool” in Proverbs 10:10 refers to one who is perverse. He is hurtful and will transgress readily.
The “prating fool” is a person who talks a lot of idle talk. His incessant talking spreads his evil. His sin is overt in contrast to the one who winks whose sin is covert! Careless speech is one of the greatest weaknesses in a believer’s life even though he has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in his heart to lead and guide him. The tongue is an unruly member of our body that needs conscious taming on a daily basis. Otherwise, it will ruin lives. The “prating fool” sows his seeds of lies and deception assassinating the character of others. For example, when a “prating fool” speaks and others listen without discernment and checking of facts, foolish decisions may be made including leaving fellowship, Bible study groups and even the church. Spiritual lives are hurt and ruined because they cut themselves off from all avenues of spiritual fellowship and growth by their departure. Bitterness remains in their hearts because of the careless words of the “prating fool.” When anger and sins are regarded in their hearts, the Lord will not hear their prayers or their praise in worship (cf. Ps 66:18). What a fall they will find themselves in, including the “prating fool” who is the originator of it all.
The one who winks with his eye and the “prating fool” are agents of Satan. Ruining lives and destroying characters have been effective methods of Satan that God condemns very strongly. Proverbs 6:12-19: “A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in
Why would children of God do the work of Satan in ruining their own lives and the lives of others around them? Beware of the one who winks his eye and the “prating fool.” More importantly, do not become them!
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew