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Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

The expression “hear no evil see no evil” originated from an ancient Japanese proverb. The full proverb is “see no evilhear no evil, speak no evil.” This phrase was popularized in the 17th century as a pictorial Shinto maxim, carved in the famous Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine in Nikkō, Japan. Meanwhile, in the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul used conspicuous while referring to bad and good behavior evident to all who are watching.

The sins of some men are conspicuous (openly evident to all eyes), going before them to the judgment [seat] and proclaiming their sentence in advance; but the sins of others appear later [following the offender to the bar of judgment and coming into view there], 1 Timothy 5:24.

Perhaps referencing a previous letter sent to Galatia, Paul pulls back the curtains of the spiritual realm in Galatians 5:16-25. Deep inside of every human being is an internal struggle between good and evil. This particular passage is where the term dualism comes from. This biblical theology states that the universe contains opposing powers of good and evil, seen as balanced equals where a third party, a judge is necessary to intervene.

So also, good deeds are evident and conspicuous, and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden [indefinitely], 1 Timothy 5:25.

From a modern perspective, gossip and slander are never a good thing to practice. Paul urges the church of Philippi to focus on the positive, Philippians 4:8-9. While you will have opportunities, moments in life to correct and or rebuke close friends, don’t dwell on the negative. If you want to be depressed, just watch the nightly news. The best way to be a source of hope and light in this world is by taming your tongue, James 1:19 so you can keep the Proverb Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil .

by Jay Mankus


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