Even a fool, when he keeps silent,
Is considered wise;
When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
I lightheartedly threw out an offhand comment in the middle of a meeting between friends.
It sounded hard and even a bit rude, and I instantly regretted saying it. The person to whom it was directed graciously deflected the blow, but I felt like an utter fool.
I hate it when I do that.
Today’s multimedia takes socializing to a new and manic level. Oddly enough, communication seems to have fallen victim to the party. Being behind a keyboard gives us a sense of safety and emboldens us to just spit out what we’re thinking. Before we have time to self-edit, our words are launched into cyberspace for all to see and hear.
This tendency to split-second responses spills over into real time. Flippancy is the new attitude. We love to get those zingers in and score a “like.” We don’t think about who we may be hurting in the process.
I’ve often wondered why the Book of Revelation describes a moment of silence in heaven before God issues judgment on His wayward planet. I always thought it was a mark of God’s sadness in the injustice that has ruled under man’s stewardship. Or perhaps it was a sign of His reluctance to lower His hand.
But with the mayhem created by Earth’s inhabitants, maybe He’s just tired of the noise.
Silence is a beautiful sound.
That quiet hour before the household awakens to another morning; the peaceful sleep of a tired child; the muffled stillness of a forest glade – these are precious moments. One other that must be lovely to the ears of God is the hallowed space inhabited by the words we refrain from saying: the biting reply, the angry rebuke, the thoughtless comment, the dirty joke.
Thankfully, God knows we’re human. We make mistakes and say things we shouldn’t. The pain of those moments should be a constant reminder to keep our words few and gentle and full of grace. Sometimes, as it turns out, silence really is golden.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
– Proverbs 10:19