“The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.”-Proverbs 12:23
Recently, my wife has got me hooked on Longmire. I seldom watch TV, but I have become engrossed in a Netflix series based upon the Walt Longmire mystery novels by author Craig Johnson. Robert Taylor plays the role of Longmire, a rugged sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming. Every episode has multiple subplots, each doing what great stories do–creating nerve wracking tension (a sort of Western version of 24). There is always some tragedy, some act of evil lurking in the shadows. Just when the sun comes out, and everything is as it should be, serious storms of injustice come out of nowhere, darken the skies, and unleash their fury. A doctor is murdered; a girl goes missing; a deputy turns rogue. As a lawman, Longmire bravely confronts each one, often alone. He lives by a code of justice and patrols the county with a quiet steadiness. He is a throwback to the Marlboro man. You seldom know what he is thinking. Like the Lone Ranger, he seldom shows his face, rarely shows his cards.
Those more sophisticated might say such character types need professional help. It’s important to be open, release the pain or anger deep inside, and become transparent. And while there is some truth here, wisdom would say that holding things back isn’t all bad. Shrewd is the man who keeps certain things to himself–close to the vest. He understands that timing matters. Knowledge is wasted when it is given in the wrong moment–when no one is listening. The wise realize that motive also regulates the dispensing of one’s understanding. Prudent is the person who pauses to ask–“Why am I sharing this?” Is it simply to look good? Knowledge, the hard won sort that is carefully mined, must be carefully regulated. Things valued are things measured.
Fools are different. They make a public proclamation of their folly. They blurt out their stupidity. They have no filters. Social media has become their technological advance. Twitter and Snapchat and Facebook are golden for such types. Valuable as these platforms are–let’s face it–much of it is a waste of time–a deposit of nonsense. And often, way too much information is shared. Feelings best left to oneself, pictures that should never be shared, and ideas that should never see the light of day are thoughtlessly blurted out. Lost is the recognition that there is a time to reveal and a time to conceal.
So before that Tweet, before you determine to weigh in with your opinion, or tell everyone what you think, consider the prudence that comes with being cautious, measured, and sometimes even quiet. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent (17:28).