Pro 19:11 (KJV) The discretion of a man deferreth his anger…
Teaching discretion to kids could be tough because the whole essence of the concept is balance. The ability to strike and maintain balance in life is the difference between the novice and the mature!
There are two dimensions to discretion: the first and more popular aspect has to do with the ability to discern accurately when to seize the moment, take action or rise up to the occasion.
…wit without discretion is a sword in the hand.
Contrarily and rather surprisingly, the other aspect which is even more important is the ability to discern when to restrain oneself, apply the brakes and exercise some control i.e. the ability to judge when NOT to act!
…discretion is being insightful enough especially to know what to NOT do or say!
This will be clearer as we consider few definitions of the word from different quarters as follows:
Oxford Dictionary defines discretion as the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.
This is very much in line with the opinion of Leslie George Scarman, a 20th Century English Law Lord, who also defined Discretion as the art of suiting action to particular circumstances.
…nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable.
-Jean de La Fontaine
Webster’s Dictionary however, defines discretion as cautious discernment, especially as to matters of propriety and self-control.
This implies that discretion is being insightful enough especially to know what to NOT do or say!
Discretion adds colours (value, glory) to our lives.
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Pro 19:11 (KJV)
Moreover, lack of it actually diminishes our worth!
As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. Pro 11:22 (KJV)
Jean de La Fontaine the famous 17th century fabulist of French literature stated that “nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable”.
Furthermore, a Spanish Proverb states that wit without discretion is a sword in the hand.
How very true and thought provoking!
If only we would employ more of this virtue, what a more peaceful world this would be!
Amazingly, discretion is not according to age. It is a virtue which even seemingly ‘wise’ and ‘mature’ people struggle with.
Would you like to be more discreet in the way you conduct your affairs and dealings with people this new year and beyond?
Searching out the scriptures and studying the subject ‘discretion’ this week would be a good place to start!
Your word says that anyone who lacks wisdom should ask You boldly without wavering; I need to be more discreet- especially in the area of restraint. Please lead me to the right resources on this subject, and as I study, please grant that Your Spirit ignites my spirit and births in me Your wisdom and inspiration. Amen. (*1)
Funmi Adebayo © 2013
(*1) Adebayo, F. (2013). How Discreet Are You?. In Each Day Online. Retrieved from How Discreet Are You?.