I recently ran across a couple of words that I hope others could use to describe me while maintaining a straight face – knowledgeable, and understanding. But, according to Scripture, those adjectives aren’t just randomly applied, they need to be earned. Specifically,
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” (Proverb 17:27)
In this verse, knowledge has much more to do with wisdom and discernment than book-smarts. And the writer says that such wisdom and discernment are demonstrated by skillfully holding one’s tongue. In fact, the language implies withholding one’s words altogether. There are times when the best, wisest response to a situation may be our silence.
Similarly, a person demonstrates understanding by remaining unflappable. Even-tempered is derived from a word that meant “cold” and carries the idea of having a “cool spirit;” one that is not easily set off into outbursts of rage.
Wisdom and understanding – they are often best demonstrated by holding our tongues and keeping our cool. It’s that easy…and that hard! –Dave
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