The Ninth Commandment: Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle with You

   Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor-Exodus 20:16

   Insinuation is not what you say about someone. It is what you think about him and want others to think. Insinuation is the son of envy and the father of malicious intent. Keep an unhappy heart bottled up if you can; sooner or later it will leak.

   You have to keep a clean mind/heart. Your heart needs a fresh scrubbing daily.

   Insinuation is what happens when your mind runs out of your mouth. There are a hundred ways to ratinonalize your good intentions, even while you assassinate the  (often) absent fellow.

   The Insinuator might be one who actually speaks but he is more likely the fellow who runs to a forest fire with a Dixie Cup. He is just there to help and very little help at that.

   The Old Testament person I mentioned yesterday, Jonathan, is a truth teller stuck between two Insinuators. Jonathan's father, Saul, is a madman on a throne. Jonathan's best friend, David, is a man of extreme excess wanting a throne. Jonathan stands between the two men with a hand on each chest and so unable to hold anything for himself.

   In fact, if the Biblical record is to be taken seriously, Jonathan seems never to ask anything for himself. He is one of those noble spirits we glimpse too seldom in religious life, spiritually fit for an office his times will not allow.

   When Saul purposes in his heart to kill David, he does not so much announce it as he does lean forward to the crime. Jonathan is so honest in his heart he can assay the falseness in other men and so see their intent.

   Saul and David enjoy positions so powerful they can order men by their body language. Saul will kill David except Jonathan sees Saul's heart in his narrowed eyes. David believes he wants to save Absalom but his generals read his bloody need in his hunched, lonely shoulders. There is no one left to save Absalom for Jonathan, the good, is dead up on the Misbegotten Mountain.

   If it is lonely at the top it is because those who reign there so efficiently inspire murder in their acolytes. Jesus knows what He is saying (imagine) when He tells His fellows they will be dragged up before councils by those who think their personal malice is God's will.

   The Insinuator speaks out of spite and calls it duty. He absolves himself with this thought, that his word was just whispered in an uncertain ear, not writ in leters so large that he who runs could read them. He coompliments himself on his subtlety. The Insinuator does not wash his hands after a rendered judgement for he sees no blood on him. He is neither subtle nor innocent, neither lordly nor virtuous. He is just a dissembler, not the rattlesnake who warns the traveler but the river asp, the one who strikes just below the water line.

   The curse of the Insinuator is the same as the cure. The cure for the Insinuator is the man who stands a half-step back from the rest and reads their minds in their fingers.




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