The Discernment of Restraint

Posted on July 25, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Victory Call

When words are many, transgression (sin) is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (wise).  Proverbs 10:19 ESV (NKJV)

 “Restrain: to prevent from doing, exhibiting, or expressing something; to limit, restrict, or keep under control; to moderate or limit the force, effect, development, or full exercise of; to deprive liberty”[i]

On the one hand, there are times we need to keep our thoughts to ourselves.  Simply be silent.  Not moping or sulking, but silent.  Restraint is a good word because it implies effort, choice, and self-control. Our inclination may be to speak our mind, make our point, share our thoughts, or just tell it like it is, when restraint is the Christ-like choice.  When words are many, sin is not lacking…

If we were able to see beyond the lips that lack restraint we would see an impure, self-seeking, self-centered, proud heart. “What I think is important, funny or right and others need to hear it.” When words are many, sin is not lacking…

I need this reminder today, and tomorrow and the next day, numerous times a day.
On the other hand, there are times we need to speak up and not be silent.  We need to avoid ill-chosen restraint.  When we have it within our power to encourage, edify, honor, tell the truth, seek forgiveness, grant forgiveness or testify of God’s work in our lives, sometimes we may resist doing so. In other words, we have erroneously chosen (for whatever reason) to restrain the good we can do with our lips.  Again, if we were able to see beyond the lips that restrain good, we would see an impure, self-seeking, self-centered, proud heart. “I don’t want to encourage, honor or forgive her, she doesn’t deserve it.”

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17

I am guilty on both counts. I have failed to restrain my lips when I should have remained silent, and I have chosen to restrain my lips when I should have spoken up.

Stop and consider. Is this true of you also?

I am really being challenged by the Lord to consider my words and to discern the restraint of my lips.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3

Would you like to join me in this journey?


[i] 1.3.18


Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at

Think About This: “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us – a crucified God – must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” – John Piper

The Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 43-44. You can download our 2023 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. “ Hebrews 4:16

Want to get away & have dedicated time to read & learn God’s Word?

Consider a retreat at America’s Keswick retreat center.


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