Proverbs 11:16a A gracious woman retains honor.
Proverbs 11:22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
I think it’s pretty clear here that we want to be gracious and have discretion, right? I spent a few minutes reading commentaries and differing translations, only to discover that these verses mean basically what they say. The key is understanding the full definition of the words gracious and discretion, so let’s just head over to dictionary.com and check that out.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) -–adjective
1. pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous.
2. characterized by good taste, comfort, ease, or luxury: gracious suburban living; a gracious home.
3. indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, esp. to inferiors.
4. merciful or compassionate: our gracious king.
Will you look how big a word that is? I think we cheat ourselves sometimes when we ignore how big words are. We use just a tiny part of their full meaning, and forget the largeness of them. (Look at that definition again, and then think how often we read of God’s graciousness. Indulgent! Beneficent! Did you see that?) The thing about this definition is that it isn’t hard to do. We can be kind, we can be merciful, we just have to think about it. We have to pay attention to being gracious.
Discretion means the quality of being discreet, so that leaves me wondering about the larger meaning of discreet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) –adjective
1. judicious in one’s conduct or speech, esp. with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
2. showing prudence and circumspection; decorous: a discreet silence.
3. modestly unobtrusive; unostentatious: a discreet, finely wrought gold necklace.
Judicious in conduct and speech. Un-huh. Vigorous head nod. Let’s tie that Proverbs 31 where we read that a virtuous woman will do her husband good and not evil all the days of HER life. Not his, HERS. You know what the biggest pitfall is for most of us, right? We’ll talk about our husband’s supposed shortcomings to anyone who will listen. We tell tales out of school, that’s what. I daresay that is an even more prevalent issue than what most of think of when we read this verse: sexual immorality. We need to guard our mouth as rigidly as we guard our sex.