“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:11 and 20.
Words can reveal what is in the heart of man, what that person is like. Why does the world look at restraint like it is unhealthy?
Today’s attitude about restraint is: “Why bother?”
I know we are talking about words and speech and stuff but it is parallel to everything else we have to deal with. It is like as if the fools of the past few generations said: “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” and then figured out a way to influence the whole world to buy into that philosophy.
“Restraint is so, I don’t know…Puritan.” “If I bottle it up inside me, I’ll blow.” “I have my mental health to think about.” “If I don’t express [fill in the blank here], then, then, then….”
It is not only what we say, but what we think, what we do, what urges we give into, what thoughts we let cascade into our brain, what we peek at or let our eyes wander to, what we read, and all of that, etc. etc. “A fool gives full vent to his spirit…” What a clear picture God gives us. I vented my spirit a couple of weeks ago. Two minutes of venting gives way to two days of asking forgiveness. Sheesh. Is that an unequal transaction or what? Note: I am sooo funny to look at when I blow my top. People tell me it is comical to the max, the very picture of a fool.
Venting my spirit, being quick to say things? Biblical picture of a fool.
Restraint is godly. Restraint is not necessarily austere. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said “Even a fool, when he is quiet, seems wise.” The appearance of wisdom is not what Jesus is after in His disciples. He is after Godly Wisdom being fully planted in us. I cannot depend on wisdom as an osmosis event in me as a time and experience function; I am not going to coast into wisdom I must (in cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s work in me) cultivate wisdom. Proverbs 4:5 “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” Never truer words written.
Start this way: Practice restraint with words. Be aware of careless words. Listen more than speak and if you think you have to reply, think again. Ministry doesn’t have to be talk. Try putting your arms around someone and just sit with them. Sometimes the most godly thing we can do is to just listen and “weep with those who weep….”
Lord Jesus, After reading through Proverbs again a few things stick out like a blue light special at K-Mart. One of those things is avoiding being a fool. I have seen so many references You have given Your servant Solomon to write so that I could reap the wealth of the wisdom written.
Want wisdom? Get wisdom. Chase it, grab hold of it, wrestle it to the ground and capture it. That is the picture in my mind, Lord. Make this vision a reality in me today. AMEN