Wisdom of Silence (Proverbs 10:19)

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

Proverbs 10:19

This proverb challenges me. First, to keep this short. Second, to keep silent more.

I live in an age wherein communication is prized. We have social media and social networks. We tweet and post to our walls and Instagram things and make Vines and whatnot. We Skype and Facetime and all manner of other things. We share our lives in manners heretofore un-thought-of. We utter a terrible amount of words. Do we say anything? Moreover, is what we are saying righteous?

Before I speak, I should consider what Abraham Lincoln famously said (paraphrasing a verse from Proverbs, if memory serves), “It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Groucho Marx once quipped, “Before I speak, I have something important to say.” Sadly, there is a great deal of truth in that joke. I live in the midst of a people who do not, as Isaiah lamented, merely have unclean lips, but whose lips cannot seem to stop moving. And I am often the worst offender. I know better and continue to talk anyway.

Solomon notes something that I am wont to lose sight of: too much talk will bring transgression. James has a great deal to say about the sinfulness of the tongue and how proud it is. I need to hold my peace more often. Speak less. It will not make me sinless, but it cannot help but make me sin less.


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