An exotic pair of boxers
Proverbs 12:16: “A fool’s wrath is presently known; but a prudent man covereth shame.”
Proverbs 12:23: “A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.”
Just a couple of observations: First, verse 16, “a prudent man covereth shame.” Prudence and understanding seem rarely to be linked with love or concern for others, but that is exactly how the writer of the proverb puts it. He who has prudence or understanding seeks the good of others, seeks to cover their shame. Secondly, the contrast of actions is sharp. The prudent man conceals and covers whereas the foolish man proclaims and wears the list of his enemies on his sleeve. Of course there is a time for confrontation; there is a time for denouncing loudly and proclaiming the truth when it is being wrongfully hidden from view. But often enough foolish men dig through other people’s dirty laundry looking for a particularly exotic pair of boxers to send up some virtual flag pole. Prudence seeks to cover shame and conceal unnecessary knowledge; fools would rather be dumpster diving and breathlessly blogging the contents of old checkbook registers.
May God be pleased to give us prudence: a true love for the brethren that seeks to imitate the love of our Father, a love that covers shame (Gen. 3:21).