My wife is speaking at a girl’s conference this weekend onthe topic of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. Her topic is “the Discreet Woman.” She asked if I would help her with her topic, so we’ve spent a lot oftime studying what the Bible says about discretion, and I think it would begood to share with the Proverbs and Wisdom readers what we’ve learned; it’stransformational in it’s simplicity.
I think we all have an idea of what discretion is,especially when it comes to how you dress, at least with women; that word isless used with men. A woman who isshowing a lot of skin is often said to be indiscreet. The word is also used in reference to ourspeech. Someone who is discreet in theway they speak is often quiet and a good confidant.
If you look up the word “discreet”, you’ll find that itmeans “showing prudence and circumspection” or “modestly unobtrusive;unostentatious”, which really doesn’t help define it much at all as these wordsare all really synonyms not explanations.
It’s still this very vague idea. A moral code that we know to be true, but thelack of solid definition leaves it to be easily broken. But discretion actuallydoes have a very simple principle that we can use to define it:
At its heart, discretion is thinking about consequences foryourself and others before you act.
For example, a woman who leaves little to the imaginationwith the way she dresses opens the door for sin for others. Men will look at her lustfully, which Jesusequates with adultery (Matthew5:28); women will look at her in hateful judgment, which Jesus equates withmurder (Matthew5:22); and it’s tempting in today’s culture to say, “well that’s theirproblem if they have a problem with the way I dress”, but Jesus also says,
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe inMe to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung aroundhis neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world becauseof its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; butwoe to that one through whom the stumbling block comes! (Matthew18:6-7)
The same could be said about betraying confidences or anyother act of indiscretion. Indiscretionreally just demonstrates a deep lack of love for others around you when you donot care about the consequences that your actions have on their lives. So think before you act and before you speak,not just about yourself, but those your words and actions affect.
I’ll close with some verses on discretion:
Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch overyou, to deliver you from the way of evil. (Proverbs2:11-12)
For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable thingscannot compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledgeand discretion. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. Pride and arrogance andthe evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. (Proverbs8:11-13)
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout So is a beautiful womanwho lacks discretion. (Proverbs11:22)
A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is hisglory to overlook a transgression. (Proverbs19:11)