To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only twenty-five readings. Today we start a few “free days” . We encourage you to catch up on any readings you may have missed this month.
If you have finished the month’s readings, you can use these final days of the month to study the passages that challenged or intrigued you.
To Speak or Not to Speak…That’s the Question
In 1831, the poet Thomas Carlyle wrote a famous line in a proverb, “Speech is silver and silence is golden.” I remember when our kids were learning to talk. We were so excited to hear the new words coming from their mouth. We would repeat things over and over…clap with great excitement as their vocabulary grew. Then came the day we were wanting silence LOL. They were talking all at once, at a loud volume, and constantly asking, “Why?”
The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us in chapter 3 verse 7, there is “…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” We need wisdom to navigate the different circumstances we face on a daily basis. We teach our children when it is appropriate to talk, when to keep quiet, when they can be loud (on the playground), and when they need to use their “inside voice.” As an adult, I need the word of God to train me as well since I don’t always get it right.
Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
I remember my parents raising me with the saying, “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” When I see the word fitly in the above verse it makes me think of the importance of the timing, the actual words spoken, as well as the tone they are said with.
Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT) “A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”
I think all of us want to seem intelligent when talking with others. Contrary to popular belief, using fewer words is a sign of wisdom. When I get nervous I tend to talk more. I am working on applying this verse to my life. In many circumstances, the less words the better.
Proverbs 10:19 (NLT) “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”
The Enduring Word commentary states, “For many people, the more they talk the more they will sin. There is much more potential sin in talking than in listening. Many of us could bless others, and keep ourselves from sin, simply by speaking less and restraining our lips.”
Proverbs 11:12 (NLT) “It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.”
We are blessed with wonderful neighbors. I have heard some horror stories though. Even if your neighbor isn’t the type you want to have over for dinner, speaking ill of them won’t help the situation. Gossip comes back to bite. None of us like “eating crow”. Instead of speaking ill of your neighbor, show kindness. Bring them some cookies. Pray for them. A little kindness really does go a long way.
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
I often pray this verse. My mouth sure can get me in trouble. If my heart is meditating on the Lord and I have spent time with Him, it helps me control my tongue.
James 1:19-20 (NLT) “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
Ephesians 4:26 tells us not to sin when we are angry. Feeling angry leads to sinful words (see Proverbs 10:19 above). If I would follow James advice, listen more than I speak, it will help keep me from anger. I need to listen in order to understand, not listen to respond. One is active listening, the other is not. I need to be more concerned with what the other person is saying instead of trying to formulate a comeback statement when they are done. The best way to listen…be quiet.
Sis. Charity Hernandez told me her father would regularly give her great advice, “Think before you speak.” She said it was one of the mottos for her family.
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
I love to cook. Pretty much everything I cook has salt added. Probably not the best health wise, but salt just makes everything TASTE BETTER! Lord, help me be full of grace, speaking words of love to everyone I come in contact with. “To speak with grace means to say what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful.” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)
I am a work in progress. The Lord is still working on me and will continue to do so until He calls me home. I want my mouth to know when to speak and when to be quiet. I want my words to be “good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29 NAS).