Read Proverbs 11
Focus on verse 22
Something has happened to western civilization in the last fifty years or so. I know culture is always changing with each generation, but there seems to have been a significant shift somewhere in and after the 1960’s in which it suddenly became acceptable to be indiscrete. Somewhere between the fifties and the eighties it became permissible to not have manners. In fact it became cool to not have manners and stuffy and stuck up to be polite. This shedding of all things proper was not all negative. It did in some ways encourage us to become more honest in how we expressed ourselves. The down side of it was that while it provided an avenue for honest expression, it trampled all over the idea of considering how this expression might affect those around us. In this regard it was very self-centered. In today’s reading Solomon writes, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” I can’t honestly say I have ever seen a gold ring in a pig’s snout, but I have seen plenty of beautiful women who lack discretion. This lack of discretion is not limited to women; there are plenty of men – perhaps even more than women – who display a serious lack of discretion in our current society. We hear about these people nearly every day on the news casts as people in high positions of power and influence are caught in some act of indiscretion that in some cases results in the loss of their position, while in others it becomes is treated more like a badge of honor.
I believe this inconsistency in either being able to recognize indiscretion, or just ignoring it, is a sign that our culture is declining. Western culture is changing, and not all the changes are bad, but many are also clearly detrimental to the future of western civilization, as we know it. While this is and should be concerning to us, all is not lost. As I observe some of the young people who will form the next generation, I sense in many of them an increasing interest in learning how to act and live with discretion and wisdom. It would seem they have seen what the lack of it has done to the previous generation, and they want nothing to do with it. It is surprisingly refreshing and encouraging meeting sixteen and seventeen year old students who are making an effort to live responsibly and curiously treating the older generation with respect and honor even in cases where their parents may have done little to earn that respect.
A gold ring is beautiful and valuable, but it is out of place in the snout of a pig. A gold ring belongs on a finger of a person who walks in wisdom and honor. Similarly when a person uses discretion in the way they speak and act, it serves to adorn their lives and adds value to all they encounter.