Don’t Lose

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words. (Ecclesiastes 5:2–3, NIV 1984).

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19–20, NIV 1984).

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33–37, NIV 1984).

“When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7–8, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “The best story about [President Calvin] Coolidge’s taciturnity, told by his wife, concerns the society woman who said, as she sat down next to him at a dinner party, ‘you must talk to me, Mr. Coolidge. I made a bet today that I could get more than two words out of you.’ ‘You lose,’ said Coolidge.” (“Presidential Anecdotes,” Paul F. Boller, Jr.). They didn’t call him “silent Cal” for no reason.

Almost as humorous as the anecdote is the use of the word taciturnity in telling it. A five-syllable word to tell the story of a two-word reply. Something tells me old Cal would not have been impressed. I don’t know much about his Presidency, but I think most politicians could learn from his “taciturnity.” I think we could too. Whether in our dealings with God or with one another.

My Advice – Say what you mean and mean what you say. Say it in a nice way and unless it is really necessary under the circumstances, let your words be few.” Otherwise, “you lose.”

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