July 25, 2018
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. – Proverbs 17:28
Once an elderly minister I was speaking with quoted Abraham Lincoln as saying, “’Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” The gentleman who quoted this was, in my estimation, the epitome of wisdom, never saying a word out of turn. When he spoke, it was always with good thoughts.
Learning when to speak and when not to speak must be a lifelong seminar! I have spoken too quickly enough times to know that the results of unfiltered speech cannot be erased from the listener’s memory. Sometimes we receive feedback immediately, and at other times there is a time lag before we figure out how hasty we were. Applying the principle that reminds us to hesitate before speaking, and breathe a prayer in the difficult times, can really save us from problems down the road.
In a recent conversation with one of my children, my opinion was quite different from a teenage point of view. Although my point may have been right, I said more than I meant to, coming on too strong. The end result was that, a little later, I made an apology in an attempt to maintain our good relationship.
The Lord will guide us in our responses if we can school ourselves to hesitate long enough to ask Him for the words we need, or for the wisdom to remain silent. Hopefully I have learned some discretion from my latest quick response. I am sure that as I continue down life’s pathway, I’ll soon have another opportunity to try this newfound wisdom, and with God’s help, I will have made progress.
Dear Lord, help me to learn the wisdom of the right words to say and the right time for silence.