The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
I have always enjoyed a good long conversation! I love to share my feelings and bear my soul. I have vivid memories of staying up late with friends and telling all of our secrets, engaging in big ideas about the world with my mom, hanging on every word of my older cousins as they taught me about life. I LOVE talking. Give me a friend who can gab all day and I will seriously be so happy and content.
My love of conversation has often helped me in ministry, job interviews, and friendships, but it has also come to my detriment at times. While I have tons of great memories of awesome conversations, I also have many bad memories of me over-speaking, sharing too much, gossiping, and hurting those I love because I talked too much or without wisdom.
This verse in Proverbs esteems the person who uses their words wisely and isn’t quick to speak. This is so challenging for me! I want to be heard, understood, and even validated by those around me. I have learned that, that need and desire can easily become a stumbling block. The desire to be heard should never come at the expense of others being heard. The desire to be understood should never come at the expense of me not understanding those around me and listening well. My validation should never become more important than exalting the image of God present in all human beings. I have to lay down my right and desire to talk.
What does this look like? For me, it looks like bringing my frustration with others to God before blabbing it to them. It looks like always making space in the conversation for those who are often overlooked or misunderstood. It means leaving space for the Holy Spirit to speak when I’m in my “prayer closet”. In short, it means operating in a humble silence before God and man. This doesn’t mean I will never have a lengthy conversation or share my feelings. It means that when I do speak, I will speak with intentionality and with the purpose to give God glory and build up His church. If my words do not accomplish either of those goals, then they are not really worth being said.
- Morgan Fulton