Have you ever been in a situation where someone is telling you about their troubles, and you want nothing more than to tell them what they need to do? Because of course, you know best. Only, do you know best? There are times that we need just to listen and not talk.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:7 "there is a time to keep silence and a time to speak." How do we know when the right time is to be silent?
Let's look at Job for a minute. Job suffered multiple tragedies in a very short period of time. His three friends come after a time and upon seeing what state he is in are silent for seven days & nights. Then they open their mouths. Not with an "I'm so sorry for your loss." But with criticisms and accusations on his character. I don't think that is what Job needed to hear at that very moment, do you?
Silence can show wisdom. Many times someone who talks a lot is really just talking to hear their own voice.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17:28
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11
Silence can help us control our tongue and our tempers. It gives us time to pause and think about what we should say next. Many angry words are spoken in the heat of the moment and being quiet before we react harshly can prevent hurtful words or actions and save relationships.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141: 3
A fool's lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
Holding our tongue can keep us from sinning, whether against God or a fellow human.
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse. Proverbs 10:32
We are told in the Bible that while we are silent, the Lord fights for us. Isn't that wonderful to think about? The Lord, himself, fighting for you and me? Being silent also brings us closer to the Lord and gives the Holy Spirit a chance to speak truth and wisdom to us. If we are always talking how can we possibly hear what the Spirit is saying to us?
The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Has there been a time in your life that you have opened your mouth and spoke words that you immediately regretted? I know in my own life there has been too many to count. The good news? God gives us a do-over every day, every hour and even every minute. It is not too late to heed this wise advice, 'be silent,' pray and ask the Lord for wisdom before we use our words!