Solomon the wise wrote on the importance of keeping a guard upon the lips and being quiet (Proverbs 12:13, 14, 22, 23; etc.). Only a minority succeed in doing that. For these Job pleads, “O that you would be completely silent, And that it would become your wisdom” (Job 13:5).
There is certainly virtue in keeping quiet. Although the tongue is a small member it is a hard one to control and has tremendous power for good and evil. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
Much pain could be avoided if people would heed this wise admonition, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23). Hasty words are a snare for its owner. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20).
A tongue permitted to utter many words is in danger of leading people into many problems. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Therefore, a “man of understanding keeps silent” (Proverbs 11:12) at the right times.
Silence and wisdom are often linked together that a fool could gain the reputation of being wise if he was able to hold his tongue. But the man who doubts his own wisdom feels compelled to show his intelligence by much talking. “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent” (Proverbs 17:28).
People should not use their tongues to exalt themselves. “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth” (Proverbs 30:32) for glory is God’s alone.
Sometimes, people will have to talk for there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). But even then, they have to take their time before they speak. The apostle teaches, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19).
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In His service,