• By Rev. Joseph A. Bias

Values — DISCRETION — Keeping A Lid On It


“Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” Proverbs 2:11

Discretion the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.

Imagine, you meet someone, who, during the course of your brief initial conversation, began sharing with you in vivid detail a story about someone one whom you did not know, but as they were talking you got the feeling that you really didn’t want to hear about this individual’s shortcomings, beside the person speaking to you claimed to be a friend of the one she was talking about. Her sharing of negative comments about her friend would be an example of indiscretion.

Her friend probably trusted her to exercise discretion in not spreading the story of her life to other people.

Discretion is a vital underpinning of any trusted relationship and is closely allied with self-control and self-restraint. Discretion is motivated by love in that it does not parade itself unseemly. Discretion keeps us from becoming puffed up and inflated with the idea of our importance and indispensability. Discretion is the watch put over our mouths to keep us from speaking coarsely, loosely, bearing false witness and so forth.

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

Discretion is the hallmark of the one whose life is lived with goodness and righteousness at its core, both personally and in business.

“A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.” Psalm 112:5

But without discretion an otherwise attractive, beautiful, even brilliant minded person can become little more than a pig with a diamond ring in her nose.

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” Proverbs 11:22

Contra-wise any response to wrong doing when expressed with discretion is always appropriate, even in the case of the most egregious acts of evil.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27

Discretion is what keeps anger from becoming sin, and through it a pathway is laid to forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Proverbs19:11

As temperance is to our personal holiness and uprightness before God in the use and consumption of the material aspects of life, discretion is to our manner of relating to all people in every situation of communication and respect for privacy and confidentiality.

Discretion is a gift of God that acts as a governor, so to speak, that keeps us, and our natural inclination to go over the line, in check.

“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” Psalm 141:3-4

Have you ever considered that God Himself acts with discretion? At creation He had all power at His disposal to do anything He pleased. He could have created all the planets to amble about bumping into one another or so dense and concentrated in number that they would be unstable all the time and who could restrain Him? No one. But He restrained Himself and determined to hold all things in a unique pristine and elegantly discrete balance. His discretion constrained Him.

“He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” Jeremiah 10:12


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