Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 16, 2020
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 10:19
I am quick to speak. Far too often I think my opinion, my knowledge, or my unique insight is precisely what’s needed in any given situation. And yet, I’ve lately taken on a simple habit that is changing my view of myself and my relationships. When I feel prompted to jump in and offer words of wisdom, I first count to four in my head and give the conversation or situation room to breathe. In short, I’m learning to shut my mouth.
What happens when we keep our mouths shut? In ways that may not seem obvious at first, restraining yourself is actually an act of love and hospitality. When you hold back, you invite others to step in. You are choosing the place of humility, consciously acknowledging that you do not have all the answers, and that others may have wisdom and insight that you lack and the immediate situation desperately needs!
Additionally, restrained speech allows for greater data gathering. Rarely do I regret withholding my opinion and perspective, especially if I have not had time to fully process the relationship or situation. Often wisdom is found in moving knowledge from our heads and into our hearts, and that journey requires time. Our good intentions can be ill-informed, and we therefore speak out of partial knowledge and add fuel to the fire rather than the refreshment of true wisdom.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
Lastly, our ability to keep our mouths shut is not only for our own sake, or for the sake of those closest to us, but it is for the sake of those outside the faith looking in. Rather than an abstract list of doctrines or beliefs, people are most often drawn to faith through their lived experience of the Holy Spirit at work in you and me. If we claim to be filled with the life and light of Christ, yet speak in ways that deny that hope, it not only shows the true state of our souls, but it compromises and weakens our embodied witness to the hope we have. And so, counterintuitive though it may seem, at times evangelism invites you to shut your mouth for the sake of Christ!
Father, teach us to restrain our speech for your glory and the good of others, we pray through Christ our Lord, Amen.
When you feel the urge to rush in and offer an opinion, take a breath and reassess the situation in peaceful silence.
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Often wisdom is found in moving knowledge from our heads and into our hearts, and that journey requires time. #WisdomHunters #lesswords #truth #Jesus
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