“Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter” (Ecclesiastes 10:20)
When I was a young lad, I was invited to play a game in which five to ten people were placed in a circle. The game was for one person to whisper a secret into the ear of the person beside them. Then that person would turn and tell the secret to the next person. This process went on until it came to the last person. The last person was then to tell what he had been told. What this last person said he heard was completely different than what the first person had told.
This is the way it is when a matter or a secret is told over and over. This process can be very destructive, because it ends up being a lie. Reputations have been destroyed; people have been wrongfully put in prison; marriages have been destroyed and lives ruined, all by repeating a matter.
The text defines it even more, as you are not to curse the king (or a ruler) even in thought; nor curse the rich in the privacy of your own bedroom, supposedly the most private place in a person’s house; for the bird will tell it.
One of our greatest tasks is to control our thoughts and our words concerning others. It is very, very important for all of us to do as Paul instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5c “… bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” If we could bring our thoughts into subjection to Christ, then we could control our tongues and the words we speak. King David said in Psalms 141:3 “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” David was like most of us, we want God to do it for us. But the truth of the matter is, we have the responsibility to yield our members to Christ daily, and that includes our tongues. (See Romans 6:13-22; James 3:2-18.) “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).
Knowing this, as born again children of God, we have the Power of the Spirit of Christ living is us. Therefore, let us show this power by exercising this power in yielding our minds to Christ daily; for our tongues are controlled by our minds.
When our thoughts are revealed by our tongues, there is no protection from the bird. He will tell what we say, even if it is in our own bedroom Therefore, let our words be of Christ; let our words be of the meekness of wisdom (James 3:13).
The watch before our mouth and the door of our lips are found in our submission to the law of love. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to highly esteem others, and we must do this even in our private place in thought and in word. This will save us much hurt and loss of testimony.
Remember, the bird loses the correct translation when he tells it. What you said and how you said it, will be repeated as the bird sees it and how he heard it. And he tells it not for your benefit, but for his!