Monday, March 22, 2010

Wisdom or Hypocrisy?

Is holding your tongue in the presence of others, whose views are vastly different than your own, wisdom, or a hypocritical attempt to preserve relationship with those who would reject you if they knew what you really thought?

5 comments:

Retriever said...

Jesus said he was sending us out as sheep among wolves, and advised us to be wily as serpents yet gentle as doves. I hold my tongue more now than when in youth. I was even more self righteous then! I like the Puritan (?) advice to reflect does it need to be said, does it need to be said by me, does it need to be said now. And counting to ten. Or walking around the block before responding to some outrageous statement.

But overall, I still think it best to say when the Emperor has no clothes on. This makes me unpopular, and often causes family fights.

I have a very wise friend who is kind and diplomatic most of the time, so that on the rare occasions when he criticizes, one listens and swallows one's pride and rage and tries to learn from the criticism. But the key thing is that the negative is rare. It's a bit like that GOttman stuff on marriage that one should make 5 or 7 or some other impossible number of positive remarks for every negative one.

Do as I say, not as I do, of course. Lately, I find that the only people I can tell the truth to are my minister, my doctor and my dog. Everyone else gets mad when I say how I really feel.

A very good question, that I just blathered about pointlessly. I think mostly one has to pick one's battles. I do all kinds of appalling things that others are doubtless asking themselves the same question about...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I've done both. I try not to duel with the unarmed.

DH said...

It depends. As often is the case, the true answer lies in the motivation for whichever action - speaking or holding your tongue - that you choose. Do you speak up out of a mean spirited attempt to show someone how wrong they are, or do you do so in a loving, grace-filled attempt to open their eyes to truth? Do you hold your tongue because you're afraid of being judged, condemned, or rejected for the views you espouse, or do you do so knowing that nothing positive will come at this juncture from your having spoken up? The questions are not always easy to answer but should always be asked to try to help ensure your motives are as pure as possible.

Joseph said...

The biblical sages were either undecided on this matter, or found the question too complicated to provide only one answer. Pro 26:4-5

terri said...

What prompted me to think about this question is realizing that there are a lot of things I don't discuss with people around me......partly to prevent arguments, partly because I know, or at least I think I know, what would happen if I said everything that I thought.

Yet....I also wonder how fair it is to the people around me because I've created a sort of barrier that prevents them from really knowing what makes me tick.