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?
This week, ECC’s reading plan moves from Acts to Proverbs. I love Proverbs, with the bite-sized quick hits of wisdom; it’s like the crawl at the bottom of the screen on Fox News. (I’m avoiding the Twitter analogy…too derivative…) Proverbs is full of simple, straightforward wisdom that we can all use.
In today’s reading in Chapter 1, a particular verse stuck out at me…actually, the first half of verse 5: “…let the wise listen and add to their learning…”
So here’s the thing…if I’m to be completely honest, I don’t claim to be wise, yet in my more “human” moments, I often tend to rely on my experience and knowledge as a believer. The truth is, I have a lot to learn. We all do. The best part is that we have God’s Word and the wise counsel of other Christians.
I’m looking forward to reading Proverbs again. I’m sure I’ll continue to share what I’m learning and what resonates with me as we go; I’d love to hear what you’re getting out of the readings too. Please share…
My friend Mike sent an email to several friends talking about the rough go he’s had the last few weeks. Compared to him, even my toughest days lately have been mere inconveniences. In his email, he shared what he’s learning through it all, and he shared the following scriptures:
“The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:11-12
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Wow. Thanks, Mike! Sometimes it takes hearing someone else’s wisdom, the way the Lord works in their lives, to see what He is capable of doing–and continues to do–in my life. It’s also so encouraging to hear what God shows others and how He shows it to them.
On a good-news front, I feel like I truly accomplished something today. I got the Eastridge podcasts up and running (for the first time in months, I have to say) all by myself. Not that it was particularly difficult work, but it was a big deal to me to have accomplished it. Yay.
A friend of mine shared a quote with me that another staff member here at the church shared with her recently: “It’s not what is happening to you; it’s what’s happening for you.”
What amazing wisdom! Too many times we look strictly at the circumstances as they happen to us. We look at our existence with blinders on, not seeing the big picture. But if we would look at the lessons we are to learn, at the legacy our struggles inevitably leave behind, I think we’d see our cirucmstances in a different light, and we’d be more positive.
Why can’t we live like that? Why don’t we live like that?