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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 10:19

"When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise"


This is the Hebrew word dabar, which means words, speaking, talking. Solomon is trying to help people understand that when you tell everything you are thinking or everything you are feeling, you will offend, you will be selfish, and you will exalt yourself.


This is the Hebrew word pasha, which means transgression, rebellion, breach of trust. Usually this is seen as rebellion against God so, therefore, a transgression; but the underlying idea is rebellion against the direction and rule of God in your life.

Reason this through with Solomon. He is saying that if you talk a lot and disgorge all your feelings and thoughts consistently, then it is inevitable that you will be rebelling against God's will for you. You will make your life all about you instead of all about Him or others. If you are the one talking all the time, you missed His prompting to stop and to focus on the other person who is listening to you.

There is an appropriate level of self-disclosure and appropriate times, but too much focus on you will always lead to saying to God: NO, I don't want to love others; I like all this focus on myself.


This is the Hebrew word hadal, which means to cease, to stop. There is a “not” that precedes this word in the original language. Therefore, it says that if you are a person of many words, it is not possible for you to stop the coming rebellion. God will be saying stop and you will push right on through because you enjoy hearing yourself speak so much.

Let me suggest an exercise that you try every day so that you do not violate this proverb. At least once every day don't talk about yourself; just ask questions of the other person and be focused on them. Do not open your mouth to reveal what you think or feel; only use your mouth to ask questions or to compliment them. You will be surprised and delighted by what you learn and people will be delighted with the love for them that you are showing.


This is the Hebrew word hasak, which means withhold, keep in check. This verb means to hold something back, to stop the normal or desired direction of an object or person. Our sinful nature wants to have others focused on us. It wants to drone on and on about what we think and feel. But God, through Solomon, says if we keep talking, it is inevitable that we will rebel against God's plan for that person and that day. Be ready to say no to yourself. Be ready to hold back all that you want to say about yourself and all you are feeling. Yes, there are times to tell it all to a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor but be prepared for the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit saying: “Enough Ask a question about them.”

One person suggested to me that I say NO to something every day just to stay in practice. If we are going to achieve God's will for us, we will have to say NO to ourselves at least once every day.


Those who do not say everything that is in their mind or heart are allowing everyone to win. Those who dump out all they feel and think for public consumption are often an extremely selfish people. They win but a number of others lose.

I have a good friend who will always bounce any attention upon himself back to another question about you. You have to demonstrate that you are really interested in him with repeated questions before he will tell you how he is doing. He is an expert at focusing the conversation about the other person. I believe that he has the philosophy that if you really care about him, you will ask again about him; but if you are just being polite in your questions for him, his questions will love you and he will not have answered questions you really don't want to hear. When I am with him, we play this very interesting game of “can I deflect questions about me and focus the conversation about how he is doing or will he deflect questions about him and focus the conversation on how I am doing.” Wherever this man goes, he is universally loved because he has somehow learned to heed the advice of this proverb: Don't talk too much; you get in the way of what God wants to do. Be alert to what God is prompting you to do.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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