Seeking the beautiful art of discretion

Now that is not a word you hear every day. Discretion.

discretion: a lost art

What in the world does it mean? Dictionary.com says:

the quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one’s own actions or speech; prudence or decorum

And what about discreet?

judicious in one’s conduct or speech, especially with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect

Discretion is like modesty – modesty is about how we dress, discretion is about how we speak and act.

Wow, THIS doesn’t seem like something that is high on the priority list of our culture today! We share the most intimate details of our lives, not just in mixed company (which often would be bad enough), but ON THE INTERNET for the entire world to see. With Facebook, we laugh at statuses that decades ago would be seen as completely inappropriate, gauche and crude. But somehow our culture has lost the sweetness of discretion.

  • Pro 1:4 To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion…
  • Pro 2:11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you…
  • Pro 3:21 My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion…
  • Pro 5:2 That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge.
  • Pro 8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion.”
  • Pro 11:22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.
  • Pro 19:11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
  • Dan 2:14 Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the king’s bodyguard, who had gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon…

One thing we see in scripture about the loose woman, the adulterous woman, is that she is brazen and bold! She captivates by her speech and actions much more than through her attire. She blatantly goes in pursuit of men to ensnare. If we are flirtatious in our speech or body language, even if we think it harmless, we are imitating the adulterous woman from scripture. We can be friendly and forthright without the come hither attitude or bedroom eyes my mom used to talk about! Those are born out of an indiscreet heart.

Discretion, on the other hand, is  beautiful thing! It keeps things appropriate, it helps others feel comfortable, it stops us from seeking to be the center of attention. We often think about the staunchness of the Victorian Age, when even a pregnant woman was hidden.

This isn’t discretion, it is repression.

It is important to remember that God made all things beautiful in their time. Some kinds of speech are fine and appropriate in a certain group of people, while inappropriate with others. It is all centered in letting Jesus shine through us. When we do that, we live out the beautiful art of discretion.

I think this might be a good thing for us to ponder. Are we dishonoring the Lord and one another by our shame and folly, by our gossip and loose tongue, by our inappropriate familiarity when a touch of discretion would be a wise and prudent thing? Just wondering.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Image is from a storybook titled The Sunbeams and Me, by Helen Marion Burnside & Nesbit, Mary Dickens, M. A. Hoyer, and others, illustrated by Helen Jackson, Jane Willis Grey, Fanny Bowers, and others. Public domain

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5 Comments

  1. hmmm…:) good point!

    Reply
  2. I agree we do need more discretion in what we say. If you feel like you need to vent, seek out a godly friend who will listen but offer correction when it is needed.

    Reply
    • Starla, I completely agree. There are times when we need to share with someone, but it must always be someone who will point us back to the cross and growth in our lives. Thanks for coming by and sharing!

      Reply
  3. You’re so right, Kate, discretion isn’t high on our priority list, but thank you for the reminder that it should be.

    Blessings to you and yours.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Heather!! And to you as well.

      Reply

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