At least let 'em wonder


Watering the Tulips

October 3, 2012


“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back”Proverbs 29:11


There is a human proverb that says, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.  Certainly, this would harmonize with the verse before us today.  Simply put, most of us have a tendency to shoot off at the mouth sometimes.  Some may feel comfortable doing this in a larger group while some may only do it with people they are more relaxed with.  Nonetheless, we need to be cautious when we speak no matter the circumstance.


In the ever practical book of James, we are instructed, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).  These two verses are full of instruction.  First of all, we are to “be swift to hear”.  When we reach the point that we think we are always the instructor, we are wise in our own eyes.  This leads to pride and arrogance.  As children of God especially, we need to be “slow to speak”.  Certainly, our text verse declares this to be wise.  When we shoot off at the mouth for any reason, we are acting in a foolish, unwise manner. 


Oftentimes, we tell people off out of anger.  We may try to justify this by saying we are “standing up for God”.  But that doesn’t change our instruction here.  Certainly, Christian people ought to be bold in the things of God.  But still, there is “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).  The man who cannot distinguish between these proves himself to be foolish.  The one who has gained wisdom applies this knowledge in his talking.  Standing up for God in a hateful, mean-spirited manner “does not produce the righteousness of God”.  There’s a vast difference in boastful arrogance and “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). 


Without doubt, controlling the tongue is one of the most difficult things to do.  Many of us may bring our bodies into subjection to some extent.  However, usually the last thing we learn to control is our tongue.  Social media has done nothing but prove this.  Young and old seem to think it’s normal to air out every problem of life on Twitter and Facebook.  This shows immaturity and selfishness.  More than that, it shows a lack of spiritual progress.


If we, as believers, intend on serving God, we certainly must bring our bodies into submission to His revealed will (the Bible).  This includes the things we say.  Certainly, we must boldly declare the truth.  However, there is a proper manner in which we must declare the truth.  Undoubtedly, this includes the manner in which we speak.  However, this first involves knowing when to speak and when not to.  James again tells us, “For we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2).  If you can learn to control your tongue, you will save yourself much grief.  You will quickly further your spiritual growth and service to God. 


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