Proverbs 11:12 (NASB) – Silence is Golden
12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
But a man of understanding keeps silent.
Today’s commentary is going to be short and sweet because I realize that silence is golden. The first half of this verse immediately reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1-2 concerning our judgement of others, in particular other believers in Christ:
1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
When we “despise” our neighbor we display our prideful superior wisdom and scornful discernment. Clearly in Matthew 7 Jesus advises against such pride in judgement and counts it foolish and hypocritical. While it is clear that this form of judgement is frowned upon as reckless and harmful, the “do not judge lest you be judged” quote is one of the most frequently mis-quoted and mis-used of all scriptures in the New Testament. Suffice it to say, many people love to quote versus one and two but almost always leave out versus five and six which significantly change Jesus’ point; but that is fodder for a completely different article as I promised brevity for this one.
The real issue at hand is found in the second line of Proverbs 11:12 and deals with the control of our tongue. The wisdom of Christ, the wisdom those of us walking in His Kingdom ought to be seeking daily, recognizes that there is a time and a place for a display of outrage and correction. We must exercise patience while seeking love and harmony with our neighbor – that love requires control of our tongue. A shining witness depends on us using our speech to promote light, life and of course the truth of Jesus.
Now Shhhhh! Silence is Golden!