A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11)
Did you ever say what you thought about something and wished you had not? Or have you realised that if you had waited to speak, you would have said something different, or perhaps, said nothing at all? Have you gone into a rant or diatribe that you regretted afterwards.
Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Do you know anyone that seems to have the definitive answer to every question or problem? “Seems” is the telling word. The Proverbs are a help in every area of our lives. Each time I say too much, whether I have yet realised it or not, this verse comes to mind. A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11) Truly, we rarely regret the things we have not said. Regretting that we did not say more is not a feeling lead of truth.
Everything does not need to be said. The Spirit guides well. How may times have I held my thoughts and was thankful that I had. Truth will come to the surface and it is usually preferable if it does not come by us.
When someone offers the “proverbial piece off their mind” and I must respond, I do. I respond with brevity. Saying, “that’s interesting” or “I am sorry you feel that way” may be enough to end a conversation that glorifies no one.
When situations arise that feel awkward, a funeral or serious illness, this is a perfect time to cut it short. Spill your thoughts in prayer. Doing so will bring clarity to what you should say or do, or not.
I have had to learn brevity. It is not my natural reaction, but how many times I have been thankful for the effort made. Apart from making comments that would be best not said, there is great benefit to saying something conversational then shutting up, for it is in these quiet times that I learn. I learn about others and I learn about things.
We can pray about speaking less, but it seems to me that there are reasons people don’t appear to practice brevity regularly. “Oversharing” is often the result of feeling nervous or insecure. It is as if talking validates who we are.
We may talk too much in order to show how knowledgeable we are about a topic. This is a place to get ourselves into trouble because someone almost always knows more.
People generally like to talk about themselves; it is important to be self-aware. How much is too much?
Sometimes talking becomes a bad habit and causes us to talk just to talk, when we are not enriching a conversation.
The more we examine ourselves the less likely we are to be examined in a critical fashion and this is preferable to all.
I have close friends that are great listeners. Do I think they are not as well informed on a topic? Absolutely not. I admire their reserved conversation and when they do join in, what they have to say is always worth the listen. Those are the friends that I endeavor to learn brevity from.
Another aspect of brevity is what Scripture speaks of, referring to it when speaking of our lives. Our lives are a vapour; they pass quickly, yet Scripture confirms that life is of great value and should be used wisely. Perhaps brevity is a hallmark of greatness, using what we have been given wisely, be it life or be it our tongues.
Oh, I just want to go to James when I speak of the tongue, but for the sake of brevity I will not, but will end with the thought I began with: A fool says everything they think, but a wise person listens first, and thinks before speaking. In thinking first, we will almost always say less. According to another proverb, Proverbs 17:28: Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. (Proverbs 17:28)
If you can’t add to the discussion, don’t subtract by talking. Lois Wyse
If people would only talk about what they understood, Earth would be a very quiet place. Albert Einstein
Talking too much is a far greater social fault than talking too little. Eleanor Roosevelt
Today’s tea tidbit is from a reader and friend! Thank you, Peggy, for reminding me of the song about having potentiality. It is taken from the classics, Veggie Tales! It is from More Sunday Morning Songs With Bob and Larry!
|I am a promise, I am a possibility,|
I am a promise, with a capital P
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learning to hear God’s voice
And I am trying to make the right choice
I’m a promise to be anything He wants me to be”