One of the pleasures that self-isolation and the Covid-19 world has not taken away is the ability to go out and watch the birds, busy with all of their springtime activity. A wooded area close to our home is a catalogue of winged wildlife: Cardinals, Warblers, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Canadian Geese, Mallard Ducks, and Herons. It gives me an odd sense of comfort to know that the pandemic hasn’t stopped everything.
Two images came to my mind as I read this verse today: visiting my uncle’s farm and an Alfred Hitchcock movie called The Birds. These images remind me of the truth of this verse; a person of integrity does not need to fear undeserved accusations. Let me explain.
I watched the classic Hitchcock movie as a boy and was terrified of birds – especially cawing crows and the tiny, darting like barn swallows. If you’ve never seen the film, it’s a case of nature gone wild. Images of birds swarming and pecking away at people kept me looking over my shoulder for many years.
The other image is my uncle’s barn, a place where I spent hours building forts and secret hideouts in the hayloft with my cousins. It was a place where I had to deal with my fears and where I learned a valuable lesson.
The lesson was this: since barn swallows feed on insects in flight, the one way to make sure that they don’t come near to you is to make sure mosquitoes and other bugs don’t come near to you. A simple application of insect repellent helped to ensure that you wouldn’t have a swallow dive-bomb towards your face, veering off at the last second.
Integrity is the insect repellent that wards off the undeserved curse. It is not that accusations or verbal persecution will never come, but they won’t stick when a person’s reputation is one of trustworthiness in their words and deeds.