Our 30th president was Calvin Coolidge, a man who became the president when Warren Harding died suddenly. He was known as “Silent Cal” by his contemporaries, because of his quiet nature at social events. Ironically, Coolidge gave many press conferences and used the radio to express his ideas. He understood the importance of words, and is famous for saying: “The words of a President have an enormous weight, and ought not to be used indiscriminately.”
I will agree with Coolidge, but say that the President’s words are not the only words that ought to be used sparingly. Our culture seems to be cursed with an over-abundance of words and people ready to speak, often without first thinking. God calls us to take care to our words, saying in Psalm 34:13 “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” Sometimes, when we are not sure what to say, we should refrain from talking.
Mr. Refrainer is someone who chooses his words wisely. He is like Samuel, who in 1 Samuel 3:19 says: “did let none of his words fall to the ground.” If he is going to speak, he will make sure that his words have value. His life verse is perhaps Ecclesiastes 5:2, where it says “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Mr. Restrainer wants his words to honor Christ, and so will say only those things that would help others (Eph. 4:29). He will not share secrets or damaging information because of his careful choosing of words.
Mr. Refrainer knows that God listens to every word he says, and so is careful which ones he chooses. He remembers that Psalm 139:4 says “There is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” Mr. Refrainer knows that the more a person talks, the more apt he is to sin. Proverbs 10:19 says “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise,” and he values wisdom over the ability to state his opinion. Mr. Refrainer doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness for something that he said nearly as much as others (Prov. 29:20), because he is careful with his words.
Sometimes Mr. Refrainer doesn’t appear wise because he does not speak. But he often will appear wiser by keeping his words to himself. Proverbs 17:28 says: “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” He has many thoughts but is careful to choose which of those thoughts should be known by others in his words. Those around Mr. Refrainer will speak their mind (Proverbs 29:11), but he has made a decision to keep his mouth under guard (Psalm 141:3). Before Mr. Refrainer posts something on social media, he thinks about the tone and implications of what he wants to say.
There are times to speak, and Mr. Refrainer is not afraid to use his words when he needs to. He knows that Proverbs 15:23 says “a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” When he speaks, others will listen because they know that he does not use his mouth heedlessly. Others will value Mr. Refrainer’s opinion, because he offers it so rarely. He follows the teaching of Proverbs 17:27: “He that hath knowledge spareth his words.” Thus, Mr. Refrainer’s words are much more powerful, and can be used in greater ways. He is a man who would make a good leader and a good friend.