“Fools vent…the wise quietly hold it back.” Pr 29:11 NLT
Carol Kuykendall writes: “My very pregnant daughter got her hair cut…from long to stylishly short. She was trying to get used to her new look when we ran into one of her friends. ‘Oh no!’ her friend wailed…‘I don’t like it!’ Then as if to rationalize her words, she quickly added, ‘You know me. I’m a Truth-Teller!’ As we walked away my daughter told me she could’ve done without the truth that day!…It made me more aware of that critical moment in conversation when I’m faced with a choice: Do I say what I’m thinking? Or do I zip it? I keep hearing that ‘telling it like it is’ and ‘being real’ is good for relationships. Reality TV, confessions on Oprah and tweeting the truth add to our reverence for authenticity. But here’s what I know about myself: if I say everything I think, I can slay people in my path. And just because I think something—doesn’t make it true…A good question to ask is: Is it helpful—or hurtful—to the person or our relationship? What about the timing and tone? [For example] a comment about a spouse’s appearance is hurtful when they can’t do anything about it, and will only make him or her self-conscious the rest of the evening.” The Bible says, “Fools vent…the wise quietly hold it back.” Knowing when not to speak is often more important than knowing what to say. That’s what Paul had in mind: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up…that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29 NIV).