But what is liberty without wisdom and virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

Edmund Burke

Restraint is not easy, and it is not popular with those ages two to 92. But restraint pays big dividends to those who learn to practice it.



Submit your personal story or favorite illustration, quote, Bible verse, etc. that illustrates a specific virtue to [email protected], then click on the virtue of your choice on the Virtues page to see your story or the stories and illustrations of others.

July 3, 2021

“The most curious of all . . . lives are the human ones, because we can destroy, but also because we can decide not to destroy. The turtle does what she does, and magnificently. She can’t not do it, though, any more than the beaver can decide to take a break from building dams or the bee from making honey. But if the bird’s special gift is flight, ours is the possibility of restraint. We’re the only creature who can decide not to do something we’re capable of doing. That’s our superpower, even if we exercise it too rarely.”

“So, yes, we can wreck the Earth as we’ve known it, killing vast numbers of ourselves and wiping out entire swaths of other life—in fact . . . we’re doing that right now. But we can also not do that. . . .”   (Bill McKibben)

May 24, 2021

“Consider it an act of love to restrain yourself from carelessly indulging your freedom in a way that would cause another to be offended, tempted, or weakened in his faith.” (Romans 14:21, my paraphrase)

I have stated throughout the book that the virtues are acts of love, ways of expressing love. It might be difficult at first to identify how certain virtues (such as Restraint) meet that qualification!  But here in Romans 14, Paul writes reminding us that we don’t live only unto ourselves. Our words and actions have consequences. So even though we may be free (according to the law) to act in ways or say words as we might, it may not always be the loving thing to do or say.