12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
The haughty person may think he has honor, but it is soon lost along with his pride. A true test of character is how one deals with defeat, the humble prove themselves honorable while the proud humiliate themselves further. None of us is exempt from the casualties of life, pride not only makes them more likely but it also makes them more painful.
“To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.” A person never learns anything while he is speaking. But there is more at stake than his education, as reputation is established through such impressions. In every conversation, it is wise to assume the other person knows something that you don’t. If you aren’t able to listen, at least keep your mouth shut, as “even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”