By Listening You Become Wise

I never learn anything when I am talking, it is only when listening that true learning can make me wise. Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I want to gain anything by learning, I must do it by listening and reading. I must open my ears to learn, rather than opening my mouth to talk. Talking can bring me into much more trouble than listening. Once I say something it is out, and I cannot hide it.

The way to keep from sinning by saying things I ought not to say is to stop and think before speaking. I can blurt out in anger something I will regret for the rest of my life, as Moses did. He became exasperated with the children of Israel and said words that kept him from entering the Promised Land. The Bible tells us that, “… they provoked his spirit, so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips.” I need to remember Solomon’s advice, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” David prayed, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” In the New Testament Jesus warns us, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgement.”

Saying nothing is much better than saying the wrong things. The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong things at the tempting moment. “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open a mouth and remove all doubt.” Solomon stated that “even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise, and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

When I speak I should say the right things: how would I know what would be best to say? - by listening and learning beforehand. “To know wisdom and understanding is to perceive the words of instruction, and is to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice and judgement. A wise man will hear and increase learning: and a man of understanding through listening shall attain unto wise counsels and will fear the Lord’s ways. A man has joy with the answer of his mouth, and a word fitly spoken in due time.” “A soft answer turns away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger. The heart of him that has understanding seeks knowledge. He that refuses instruction despises his own soul; but he that hears reproof gets understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility” (Pro 1:1-7; & chapters 15 and 16).

Bro. Isaac Kapa (Tongaren, Kenya)

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