One of my sons asked me several times this weekend, “What do I say?”
There are probably too many things being said already. There is way too much talk from way too many people – most of whom know very few facts about the matters at hand. Why is it that we seem instinctively drawn to talk about the unseemly and scandalous things of life like so many flies to a steaming pile of… you know.
I struggle this morning for words of wisdom, practical advice to offer my kids – and, of course, seek to apply to my own heart and mind… and mouth. There is a passage that reaches out to me from the ultimate book of practical wisdom.
A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.Proverbs 12.23
Ah, there’s my answer. Why do we seem inherently drawn to gossip and slander? We’re all, by nature, fools, plain and simple. Wisdom is something gained over time and through the tempering of life. I would even say that true wisdom is a supernatural work that only the Spirit of God can produce in the mind of man.
But there is a tell-tale sign of one with a godly wisdom – the ability to just shut up. “A prudent man conceals knowledge.”
You see, I’m beginning to get the idea that it’s not necessarily proclaiming the fact that erodes the fiction. I think it’s simply failing to repeat and give life to the fiction that prevents its growth.
In the end, it is unnatural to refrain from speaking, particularly if we have knowledge of something. I suppose that’s why we’re taught that self-control is something produced in the lives of followers of Jesus by His Spirit. It’s not natural, but it is wise.
So, what did I answer my son? I don’t think I really did. I just prayed that he would have the grace to speak when he ought to speak, the strength to be silent when he ought to be silent, and the wisdom to recognize which is which.
May God grant us all this grace, strength, and wisdom.
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