Yellow-bellied

yellow bellied prinium

Years ago, I drove past a church’s sign that had the quote, “Sometimes silence is golden, and other times it’s just plain yellow.” That memory came to mind this morning while reading Biblegateway.com’s “Verse of the Day.” The first thought I had when I remembered that quote was, “Why is yellow a code-word for cowardly?” This information was especially important because, as a kid, every week on “The Lone Ranger” I heard, “You no-good, yellow-bellied, horse thief!” 

“Yellow” was originally “yellow-bellied” and applied to birds that literally have a yellow belly, like the yellow-bellied sapsucker. From there, it came to mean an insult for cowards. If you’re afraid to ask someone on a date, you’re yellow-bellied. If you’re easily frightened or spooked, you’re yellow-bellied. This is often used as an insult or challenge, like “What are you, yellow-bellied?!” 

Vocabulary.com

There are times for us to be silent. I wrote a devotional titled, “All truths are not to be spoken to all persons at all times.” However, silence sometimes means a Christian is easily frightened. That doesn’t sound like a healthy Christian. The Holy Spirit lives within us, Paul wrote, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to put on our whole armor, and we have historical accounts, such as “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” (epub free on Google Play), of mothers urging their children to look to Jesus while their children were burned at the stake for their commitment to Christ. No, “yellow” isn’t the color of a Christian.

What triggered my memory? “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13: 6-7NIV) In our daily life, it’s easy to be drawn into worldly conversations or to be slightly duplicitous in conversations. 

We must not be afraid to shut down or walk away from worldly behavior. By doing so, we protect Christians that may be afraid to take a stand. Moreover, we can teach them by setting an example of a healthy Christian, one who hates evil, always hopes, always, perseveres.

Photo by SK Yeong on Unsplash

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