Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. Proverbs 17:28 (NIV)
Hold Your Tongue
You have opened your mouth when it would have been far better if you had held your tongue. You have listened poorly and spoken abruptly. You have appeared to be foolish by the words that you have allowed to come out of your mouth. There is no doubt about that. Everything you have said is true. This has not been an infrequent occurrence. It has not been a rare event for you to listen poorly and speak abruptly. You have frequently been embarrassed by the words that have come out of your mouth. That is also true. I deeply regret that I have not taken more time to listen attentively and speak carefully. Yes, I can see that you would to make some changes in the way that you listen and speak. Would you like my help? Yes, I would like all the help you will give to me.
Let me start by asking you a few questions. You have my full attention. Why do you think you listen poorly and speak abruptly? I don’t know. I’m not sure. Oh, I think you do know. It’s hard to admit. Tell me what is on your mind. I think I’m proud. My pride tells me that I have just the right thing to say. I know the answer to the question. I have the solution to the problem. I’m sure that the listeners around me will all benefit from the wisdom I have to offer them. They shouldn’t have to wait one second too long to hear my enlightened opinion and receive my pearls of great wisdom. How do those thoughts and words sound to you right now? Those thoughts and words sound really pathetic and make me want to gag. I regret thinking them. I regret acting on them. That’s good.
What do you need from me? I want and need your wisdom. What would my wisdom tell you? Your wisdom would tell me to listen attentively and speak carefully. Your wisdom would tell me that I would benefit greatly by humbly listening rather than pridefully speaking. I don’t know the answer to every question. I don’t have the solution to every problem. Others often have far more to offer me than I have to give to them. That’s true. You have brought many wise people to speak into my life. I would do well to listen to every word that they have to say to me. Yes, you would. I will never regret listening more attentively before I speak more carefully. No, you will not.
Lord, I can’t tell you how many times I have foolishly opened my mind to express what I thought was my enlightened opinion. How foolish have I been? What mistakes I have made! Give me your wisdom. Help me to listen attentively and speak very carefully. Amen
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