By Christopher Simon
Holding our tongues
“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.” ~ Proverbs 17:27-28
We rarely regret holding our tongue, though we often regret speaking, especially when it is done hastily or in anger.Silence also has the virtue of being impossible to correct.There are plenty of opportunities to keep silent. When others are gossiping it is usually best to keep silent or to try to change the subject. When someone has spoken in anger to us or otherwise hurt our feelings, it is tempting to hit back with angry words, but your silence will show you to be the better person and perhaps convince the other person of their own sin.
It is especially hard to hold our tongue when someone has said something about us that we know to be false. How much of our speech throughout the day is nothing more than an attempt to justify ourselves or present ourselves in a better light? In modern parlance, we are “virtue signaling” when we try to correct other’s misperceptions.
When I was growing up I often heard the phrase “self-praise stinks” whenever someone was going on about how great they were. Leave the praising of yourself to others, and let others be the ones to criticize, to gossip, or to engage in all the endless chatter that pollutes our lives. Consider using the time your silence has afforded you for more beneficial endeavors.