The Wisdom of Silence
While walking my dog this afternoon we met a lady with a snarly little dog. My dog which was for sure five times the size of the offender was a model of decorum. I was so proud of her. The lady said to me, “You will have to excuse her. She’s pregnant.” I’m tempted to say, “That’s not the first time I have heard those two sentences.” But I won’t say it because I don’t want to get into trouble. Being that I have never been pregnant makes it appropriate for me to say nothing.
So very often saying nothing is the correct response to a majority of comments. I have often thought the Quakers were really on to something significant. “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 How often have I returned from being at a gathering or a committee meeting and wished I had refrained from opining. Usually what I had to offer was not constructive and was only spoken because I wanted to appear bright. I wasn’t.
Jesus, the smartest man who ever lived, could have silenced His accusers in so many ways, but instead He chose to be quiet. “And the high priest arose and said to Him, ‘Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify against you?’ But Jesus kept silent.” Matthew 26 So many love the sound of their voice while not realizing what they hear is not what others hear. It’s usually a bit shocking to hear one’s recorded voice for the first time. We barely recognize the person speaking. And yet even though I think this to be a wise course of action, we should not miss the opportunity to say something encouraging and uplifting to a discouraged soul. A few wise words are a treasure.