Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. - Proverbs 17:28 NIV
In the Peter Sellers film Being There, a simple-minded gardener, Chauncey, becomes homeless when his wealthy benefactor dies. He knows much about gardening, but all other knowledge of the world comes from television. As he interacts with others, his responses to their questions appear to be deep and insightful, while he is either only recounting things he's seen on TV or some gardening reference. The viewer is in on the joke from the beginning, so we identify the others' reactions as foolishness in finding wisdom in the inane responses of Chauncey.
As today's verse implies, there are frequent times when it would benefit us by remaining silent. Better for us to be thought wise by keeping our mouths shut. True wisdom, though, comes from not just knowing when and when not to speak but in knowing what to say. Like Chauncey, we can always have a response, although not always relevant or appropriate. However, in the discernment that comes from Christ, we are giving the words people need to hear, those things which build up, encourage and heal.
Precious God, creator of our bodies, you gave up a tongue for speaking. Please help us to exercise wisdom on when to speak and give us discernment on what to say. Let the things we say to be for your glory. Let them sing songs of praise, and raise your name in worship. Amen.