At Eastridge, we’ve been reading through Proverbs. I’ve read through that particular book of the Bible many times, but, like so much of God’s Word, I’m always surprised at how much new stuff I learn when I go back to Proverbs. The wisdom contained in that book is just amazing, and there are several themes we see there. One theme that jumps out at me every time is that of controlling one’s speech.
The authors of Proverbs have plenty to say about taming the tongue. Here’s just a sample:
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (11:13)
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (12:18)
A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly. (12:23)
He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (13:3)
It’s clear from the Bible that the best course of action is to avoid speaking up when there’s any doubt. One verse that always hits me like a ton of bricks is this one:
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (17:28)
Along the same lines, Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
I’ll admit I’m the world’s worst at it, but I can see the value in keeping my mouth shut. I wish I could do it more often. It’s an easy temptation to fire off at the mouth when someone breaks in line, when the boss is unreasonable, when family members create drama, or when someone else says something stupid.
How much better would the world be if everyone thought before they spoke, or…even better…if people chose more often not to speak at all? How more wise would all of us appear? Isn’t it worth resisting that easy temptation?