Discretion versus Simple-mindedness
This is WEEK 15 of the Character Development Series I am doing for 2012. So glad you stopped by.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother had a statue of the 3 “No evil” monkeys, and it always fascinated me to look at it. Ironically, it is the power of discretion that should most differentiate us from monkeys, and especially differentiate the ungodly from those who live a Christian life.
♪♫ Oh be careful little eyes what you see…
♪♫ Oh be careful little ears what you hear…
♪♫ Oh be careful little tongue what you say…
1. The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offence or revealing private information.
2. The freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.
Synonyms for Discretion: carefulness, consideration, deliberation, forethought, shrewdness, thoughtfulness
Antonyms for Discretion: carelessness, indiscretion, thoughtlessness
What the Bible says about Discretion:
Proverbs 2:11-12 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things
Proverbs 4:14-15 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
Proverbs 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
Examples from the Bible:
Queen Esther: carefully guarded the secret of her Jewish ancestry until God’s timing for it to be revealed
King Solomon: the story of the 2 women who both claimed to be mother of an infant
Proverbs 31 Woman
The Example of Jesus to Us:
*Matthew 12: 34-37 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
*John 12: 49 -50 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
*Jesus said nothing in his defense during his trials – his mission at that time was not to prove his innocence but to lay down his life to save us.
Personal Application and Thoughts:
Ecclesiastes teaches that there is a time for everything. As we study God’s word and listen to His voice, we will be guided in the art of using discretion and waiting for God’s timing and purpose to be revealed. The simple-minded usually have uncensored behavior, reactions, and conduct. Christians are to be the examples of self-control in a world where most are purely reactionary. Sometimes, as Christians, we may have to remain silent when we want to defend ourselves. At other times, God may want us to step forward boldly. As Christians, we are to model submission to authority, and ultimately, model submission to God. We also need to be mindful of not dressing or acting in ways that would tempt others into wrongful thoughts or actions. We should choose carefully the words we speak, and the actions we take or don’t take. We also should choose carefully what we allow to shape our thoughts and beliefs, and influence our decisions.
Additional Reading: Apparently, when George Washington was 15, he thought it was very important how people chose to act and present themselves in society, and he wrote “The Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”. You might find it a useful look at history with some application to today as well. http://www.nationalcenter.org/WashingtonCivility.html
Prayer For You: May God grant you the wisdom and patience to use discretion in your daily life. May He help you to have the proper perspective to make mature decisions and have correct reactions to the challenges of life. May your words reflect His love and truth, may your dress and conduct in public bring honor to Him, and may you learn to be patient and wait for His timing.