11:12 — Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
We gain nothing in belittling someone. At the very least, it certainly reveals a lack of wisdom. The wise man will not say anything; silence can do much good while speech can do much harm (all things being equal – though the opposite can be just as true). Albert Barnes says, “None but the man “void of wisdom” will show contempt for those about him. The wise man, if he cannot admire or praise, will at least know how to be silent.” We must remain silent in the area of belittling or despising the neighbor. The fool verbally abuses his neighbor (he destroys him, v. 9); the wise will keep silent from saying such things. He has the sense not to blurt out what is in his thoughts or feelings. He waits for the right time to speak (cf. 12:23; 15:2) – a word in season or “as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).