We all know people who have something to say about everything. Is this me? Is this you? Think about it.
It is true that you can’t know something about everything. We all know it. The more I talk about things I am really ignorant about, the less “truth” is contributed to the conversation.
I need to cultivate the habit of listening and learning. That requires that I pontificate less.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Proverbs 10:19). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
I need to seek and know the truth. Jesus is the truth so I should always start there. Jesus said
If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
(John 8:31 NASB)
Having to listen and formulated what the truth is does not mean I should just sit silently. I am then able to speak the truth which will reflect true wisdom. It follows the pattern the Stephen Covey articulated. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Wise advice for sure.
This proverb warns against the dangers of slander from another angle. The second line reads, “The one who restrains lips.…” The connection with “lying lips” points to a time when concealing or holding back speech can be a good thing. Words are like sheep; the more there are, the better the chances that some will go astray. The same word for wise (maśkil) is used of the wise son.