Proverbs 22:11 tells us ‘He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king as a friend.’ As Christians we are to be gracious and show love to others. Again in Proverbs we read ‘A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.’ But I am not a Christian who thinks that I should keep quiet under any circumstances. The important thing is how I do it.

How can we keep remain silent when a medical appointment is cancelled without notice or essential medicines are not available at the chemist because of mismanagement? What about the door slammed in your face or a workman failing to turn up without any explanation? Although I can feel anger on my own behalf I am even more annoyed when a vulnerable person is badly treated. I have the verbal ability, mental capacity and courage to object. They do not always.

We know this is not a fair world and there are many injustices but as Christians we still need to be gracious. Proverbs again gives us an answer. ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ Proverbs 15:1

Proverbs 4:26-27

‘Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left., keep your foot from evil.’

We are often admonished not to take the wrong path in life, but here we asked to be careful that our feet don’t take the wrong way. Then it becomes more specific. The Bible is not talking about taking two steps down the incorrect way. We are asked to be careful where we place our foot, just one step in the wrong direction can land us in trouble.

One conversation with the wrong people, one glance at doubtful literature, one switch of the channels on the TV between programmes. This is a particular danger for me; I’m only finishing one programme wondering what to watch next. I now find it a good idea to check the listings and then record only what I want to watch. No channel switching for me, it’s amazing how dangerous some programmes are.

Not that we must get scared or insular ; we still have to live in this world. May we live in this world while holding on to the hand of God.