“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11)
President Calvin Coolidge was renowned for being a man of few words. One evening he was at a dinner party when a lady approached him:
“Mr. Coolidge,” she declared, “You must talk to me. I made a bet today that I would get more than two words out of you.”
“You lose,” said Coolidge.
It’s important in life to know when to hold your words and when to fold them. Sometimes we make a mistake by not saying something we should. I have, on occasion, been at a funeral when loved ones will say, “I wish I had told him I loved him,” or, “I wish I had said I was sorry.”
Sometimes we need to say something, because time is precious, and uncertain.
Most often, however, we get into trouble because we say too much. Perhaps we should have thought about what we were saying before we blurted out the first thing that came into our heads! Not even modern conveniences are immune. I have noticed that e-mail messages are awfully easy to send in anger, and terribly difficult to retract.
“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (Proverbs 17:28).
The corollary to that is, “Better to keep your mouth shut, and let people wonder if you are a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!” Perhaps Mr. Coolidge understood this. Words of gossip say almost as much about the speaker as they do the one spoken of. Cheap shots and criticism are given because it’s easy to see faults … in others. Misinformation (that’s a lie to anyone but a politician) has a way of finding us out, eventually.
You see, when we use words carelessly, or harmfully, everybody loses!
It is important in life to know when to hold your words, and when to fold them.