President Calvin Coolidge was famously known as a man of few words. His nickname was “Silent Cal.” His wife, Grace Goodhue Coolidge, told the story of a young woman who sat next to her husband at a dinner party. She told Coolidge she had a bet with a friend that she could get at least three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her he quietly retorted, “You lose.” Coolidge understood very well the value of using only carefully considered words—and those being few in number.
In a time when people reveal their most personal information in the most public ways without thought or hesitation, it is important for us to recapture this piece of wisdom. Truly wise believers do not feel the need to tell everything they know to everyone they meet—much less to total strangers. Instead they choose their words with care, recognizing the responsibility that comes with our speech. Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36–37).