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. -Proverbs 17:27, 28 (KJV)
Knowing when to speak and when to be silent is a challenge. Most of us know the pain of having said something we later regretted. I cannot recall all the times I have spoken only to later wish I had held my peace. Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, “There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Knowing when to do one or the other is not easy, yet the Lord is faithful and will let us know we should speak up and when we should be silent. One of our nation’s greatest Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, is credited with saying, “Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Indeed, saying too much is like digging a hole for ourselves. Climbing out of the hole is then difficult.
The Word of God teaches that even someone lacking common sense will be considered wise if he knows when to hold his tongue. There will be times when a response is needed and we must speak up. However, other times our only response is to say nothing. If we are walking daily in the power of the Holy Spirit the Lord will reveal to us what we are to say and when. Kind words are like a soothing balm to the spirit which brings health to the souls of those to whom we speak. However, harsh words are like wild animals released from their cages; rounding them up and putting them back is nearly impossible.
As followers of Christ, consider the words we speak. Are we speaking words to one another which bring healing and comfort, or are we tearing one another down. Christ calls us to speak soothing words of encouragement and edification so the Body of Christ may be built up and strengthened.
In these modern days of email, text messages, and instant messaging, it’s easier than ever before to let our words get ahead of our reasoning. Have you ever fired off an angry email or text message only to later regret doing so? I have typed many an email, and then as I was about to hit the “send” command, stopped. I then went back and either toned down my rhetoric or didn’t send the email at all. Always seek the Christ-like response to any and all situations. The Lord is faithful and if we seek His will we will be given the right words at the proper time.
Remember, glorifying the Lord Jesus is appropriate in any and all circumstances. Speak words of praise to Him today.