As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion."
Proverbs 11:22 "
Today's "Woman" is another one from the Proverbs. It's speaking to any, and every, woman. No specifics given. No special story or incident. Just a Biblical principle - GOD'S principle - for how a woman should behave.
How she should use her tongue.
I love it when God uses imagery to help us understand a concept. This one doesn't disappoint.
We have a pig, and an attractive woman. Not your usual compatriots, right?
The topic is about the tongue. It's about speaking when we shouldn't - more specifically, having no discretion in what we say.
We have had to deal with this issue, quite recently, with our children. They seem to find it incredibly easy to say things they shouldn't say. I know - they are children. They naturally lack discretion, and need to be TAUGHT when to say things, and when to keep silence.
Of course, adults don't need such instruction, right?....
Boysa dear, wrong, wrong and wrong.
Far too often, women speak when they shouldn't. This Proverb is more specifically about lacking discretion. That's about saying things when we shouldn't, in a more general sense.
There are several things that we can apply to the lacking of discretion.
1. A wise woman thinks before she speaks.
There's a proverb for this one...
"Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him."
When we speak before we think, we are plain unwise.
Openin' yer mouth and lettin' yer belly rumble.
Is that something non-UK folks say? It sums it up
We need to engage our brains before we say anything. Not doing o is indiscreet. It's not being wise, rather it's foolish. It will plain old get yo into trouble. Impetuous words.
Ummmm, *raising her hand*.
This has been me.
2. A wise woman doesn't say things she shouldn't.
"A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter."
This one is more to do with gossip. Now, this KJV word "Talebearer", can be misunderstood. I know, for sure, that I have to tell my children, over and over, what it is. It's NOT a liar! It's going to someone and telling them about another's mis-demeanour, just to get them in "trouble". Now, with a child, it's usually "grassing up" a sibling, just to get them in trouble with a parent. Not to tell a parent that danger is imminent, or someone has been hurt. Those are things I WANT my children to tell me, for the sake of safety. However, just telling me something because they know it will land their sibling in a heap load of trouble, just to be malicious, IS talebearing. I can't STAND a grassbag, and so we teach our children what the Bible says "Be sure your sin will find you out", and God will make it clear to us, if He wants us to know, and it's NOT their job!
When it comes to adults, a talebearer is one who goes to others with stories about everyone and anyone, just to spread nastiness. Sometimes that's not even the motive, but the telling of the information is certainly not a help to them, and may even be breaking of a confidence. That's both lacking in discretion AND a talebearer.
That little acrostic should help us to decide if something should be said, or not.
Now, going to someone for advice, if you need to deal with a friend who in in error is NOT always wrong. But, I would caution that you be VERY sure that the person to whom you speak is wise and discreet. As a Pastor's wife, I have needed to go to other's for wisdom and advice on matters, but I don't then tell the whole world. Every other person should apply that same principle, not just those in positions of respect and regard.
3. A wise woman is careful about what she DOES say.
"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Just because you think something, know something, or have an opinion on something, doesn't mean you SHOULD say it! Often, it's better to just keep your counsel, and say nothing.
It's hard. Trust me, I know. It's hard to say nothing, sometimes, when you know something, or think something. It's just not always wise, in every situation, to reveal it. It's not being deceitful, or twisted - it's being wise.
In my marriage, there have been times when I have wanted to discuss things, and my husband has kept silent. It used to frustrate me. I learnt WHY, for myself. Sometimes, the realisation dawns upon you, that SAYING something can be harmful, and unnecessary. It's a simple case of using self control, and just saying nothing at all, to help a situation. Saying something can simply light a fire - as truthful as it may be! It DOESN'T always need to be said.
In some situations, it's not even telling other things that are a secret, but things that are already in the open.
This verse deals with that.
"The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness."
As women, we need to wisely consider if it's a beneficial thing to share that with others, or just to leave it well alone. In THAT situation, we need to be extra careful not to be one who keeps passing information on that someone ELSE has said. Make sure that rumours and unwise words STOP with you. Also, we need to be wise, again, about who we speak to. If you can't trust someone, just don't say anything at all.
The verse at the start is incredibly descriptive, as I said.
A woman who has no discretion is like a pig with a jewel in its snout. How insane would THAT look? A dirty old pig, with something pretty in its wet, snotty nose? An enigma, right? A "fair woman" - someone who is normally attractive, whether in personality or in outward appearance - is affected by a lack of discretion. You see it DOESN'T say "A beautiful peacock with a muddy tail". The beautiful thing doesn't just become somewhat tarnished by the behaviour. No. Not at all. The beautiful becomes mostly UGLY, with a TINY hint of something beautiful, and artificial at that.
I SO don't want to be that piggy with a nose stud.
Yet, our sinful hearts are soooooo easily drawn into being indiscreet with our words. Far too easily. It's something we need to guard our lips about, every day. Honesty here - I've shared things I shouldn't have, or been unwise in what I have said. I know it. Shameful, but true. I need to guard my heart, and control my lips.
The verse about talebearers, although not specifically directed to women, tells us how we ARE to behave.
"he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter"
That's what we need to do. If our spirits want to be faithful to God, we need to conceal matters, not bring them into the open for the world and her husband to hear about.
"he that refraineth his lips is wise."
This New Testament verse sums it up.
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
I Peter 4:8
Not just love - FERVENT love. If we love those with whom we have connections with, we will "cover" their sins, not spread them about. It doesn't mean you neglect to speak to the person, if they are truly walking in error. It means you don't uncover it - tell it to the world.
Having discretion comes into the list of requirements of "young women", taught by the "elder women".
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
And do you see the serious admonition? That the word of God be not blasphemed.
*slow, deep breath in, and exhale*
A woman who is not discreet, blasphemes God's Word.
It's serious stuff, ladies.
What comes out of our mouth can do so much harm, is we don't show discretion.
It's not just about other women, here. It's not just gossiping about your friends and acquaintances. It can be talking about your marriage, and your own home. Your OWN life. You don't have to tell everyone everything. It's not being dishonest to withhold information that people simply don't need to hear!
Giving away intimate details about your marriage. Parading the failings of your husband in front of your friends. Letting your husband down to others. Criticising and moaning about his imperfections.
Dirty pig. Nose ring.
Next time you - next time *I* - am/are tempted to speak about a matter that you just don't NEED to be sharing about - next time you even THINK about sharing something about your husband, or anyone else, that you plain shouldn't - remember....
Dirty pig. Nose ring.
Just don't go there.