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Monopolizing the Conversation
Proverbs 10:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but he who restrains his lips is prudent.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking: Transgression: (Heb. pesha) is wantonness, crime, wrongdoing. One who violates a law, a duty, or a moral principle. An action or behavior that is contrary to a standard whether it is a human standard or divine, with emphasis on the rebellious nature of the wrong committed. Here we are dealing with one who lacks good sense in his dealings with others, especially offensive because he has no moral restraint when it comes to what he thinks coming out as what he says. Lacking (Heb. chadal) means that he resists the idea of restraining his many words. This line of the verse could mean that one who has caused an offense to another; there is no amount of talking that is going to make things right. However, it is far more likely that it simply means the one who talks too much with no filter will often offend others.
but he who restrains his lips is prudent: As in most cases lips here refers to speech or talk. Prudent: (Heb. sakal) means to be wise, to have insight, get wisdom, gain understanding, comprehend, be skilled. In other words, the one who is wise enough to filter what he thinks before he says it because he also controls how much he talks.
We have all encountered someone who talks too much, and on some occasions, it might have been us. The odds are the more we talk, the greater the risk that we are going to say something that is foolish, even offensive, or harmful. James is correct, our tongue is like a fire, which can, in our human imperfection, get involved in spreading hurtful gossip and slander. (James 3:5-6) However, when we restrain our lips, speak fewer words, or filter our words by considering the impact they may have before we say them, we will be wise and discreet, and we will have the respect and confidence of others.
This does not mean that we must go excessively in the opposite direction either by muting ourselves. Nevertheless, give this a try when with a group of people. Hold back in the conversation for a little while. Feel your impulses. Are you noticing that you feel compelled to speak on every subject? When you do speak are you using many words? When you look back on the night, do you feel that you spoke on more subjects than others, and had more to say? If so, you need to ponder Proverbs 10:19, as it will serve as a safeguard for you.