Reading the Word

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.(Proverbs 29:11, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

We have seen several verses in the Book of Proverbs that contrast the fool and the wise when it comes to times of conflict or disagreement. We read just yesterday how a fool cannot be reasoned with. Today, we read that a foolish person is one who “gives full vent” to his spirit. Again, the context is about conflict or times of disagreement. The fool shows no restraint, but speaks his mind, whatever the consequences. The wise person, on the other hand, holds back. He is able to harness his thoughts and words and keep them to himself to avoid making a situation worse.

We live in a time and culture in the U.S. where we are encouraged to say and do whatever we want. We are also told that we should never hold our feelings in, but let them out. We have to be careful. On the one hand, we should never let another rule over us to shut us up. However, that does not mean we should not rule over our own tongues. We must be able to speak when necessary, but we must also be able to keep quiet when necessary. The wise knows there are times for each approach and seeks to discern between the two. Ask yourself, what are the likely benefits and/or consequences of the words you are about to say?

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