To speak, or not to speak. That is the great question! When is the right time to keep silent? How does the Bible answer this question?
There's a very interesting verse I read recently in Proverbs chapter 17, verses 27-28. Where the Bible tells us:
"He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
There're some very practical lessons we can learn from these verses.
Imagine you're in a group of young people. Someone starts talking about the latest technological advance. A lively discussion soon develops and almost everybody is speaking up, each trying to get their own opinion heard. But there's one person present, who, instead of trying to speak up and voice his own opinion, is holding his peace, and quietly listening to what others have to say before speaking a word.
Who would you say is the wisest in this group? The ones who were speaking up trying to get everybody to listen to them, or the one who was quietly holding his peace and listening. Of course, we would say it was the one who was listening quietly and waiting until he had something of value to say. As we have just read, "He that hath knowledge spareth his words" and "he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding".
It's very true, when we hold our peace and, at the right times, keep silent, people consider us wise.
There's another valuable lesson we can gain. Think about your words and the impact they might have on those listening to you. And then consider, if what I have to say is negative, how is it going to effect the listener? Will it encourage them? Will it help them in their Christian experience? Or is what you're about to say going to impact them negatively?
Too often we don't think about the words we speak. But it's time we stop, and seriously consider our words. Remember, we're in a great battle between good and evil, between Christ and Satan, every word we speak is either going to have an influence on one side of the battle or the other.
If you're tempted to say something that isn't going to have a good influence, stop, and remember that this is a time to keep silence, this is a time to hold your peace. Here, silence is eloquence.
The Bible says that there is "A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" - Ecclesiastes 3:7.
If you're not sure when to keep silent and when to speak, pray to our all wise and loving Father in heaven. Ask Him for wisdom to speak the right words at the right time to encourage those you're speaking to.
Remember how beautiful a good word is:
A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11
Let's choose to watch our words that we may be counted as wise, and may be able to speak uplifting words to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
" When we can associate together to help one another heavenward, when the conversation is upon divine and heavenly things, then it amounts to something to talk; but when the conversation centers upon self and upon earthly and unimportant matters, silence is golden." - Sons and Daughters of God, by Ellen G. White p. 166
- by Emmanuel Higgins