A Time to Keep Silence, and a Time to Speak
(Ecclesiastes 3:7b) - PART 2
Guarding Your Words (Proverbs 12:23)
Proverbs 12:23, A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
Someone once said, “The most difficult thing to master is our words. It is not so much what goes in one ear and comes out the other that bothers us, it is what goes in one ear, gets garbled in the process, and then comes out the mouth!”
A foolish person doesn't know 'there is a time to be silent and a time to speak' (Ecclesiastes 3:7; Proverbs 11:13). So he blurts out what he thinks is knowledge but it comes over as folly. He just wants to show off and is totally insensitive to the company and the occasion.
Prudence helps us avoid danger because it recognizes what is going on around us. Our English word prudence comes from the Latin word for “seeing ahead.” One of the most important ways in which prudence is displayed (and by which it protects us from danger) is in the matter of our speech. Prudent people do not feel the need to tell everything they know to everyone they meet. Someone once said, “If I don’t tell you what I know, how will you know that I know so much?” The temptation to be recognized as one of those “in the know” often leads us to speak when we should be silent.
There is a time to speak out and confront evil, but most of us speak too much rather than too little. Instead of proclaiming the latest about everyone, we would avoid a great deal of trouble if we prudently kept our mouths closed. If we continue to open our mouths about everyone and everything, we will certainly create trouble for ourselves and for others. If you have a problem with a person, you should talk to them and God about it—and not others.
It is impossible to overestimate how important our speech and words are to our success in life. The hearts of the righteous are revealed through their speech, as are the hearts of the wicked. Jesus spoke of the importance of this in Matthew 12:33-37.
Words are the fruit of the heart. Other people judge us according to what we say, and one day we must give account to God for every word we have spoken. According to James 3:2, those who are able to completely control their tongues are mature believers.
According to Matthew 7:6, silence may not mean ignorance but greater knowledge – of what should be said, to whom and when. Christians can do harm by blurting out precious words to those not in a right condition to receive them.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I thank You for the Bible and for all the wise instructions you have given me in it. I thank You for Your Holy Spirit to guide me for those times I needed to keep my mouth shut. Teach me to be more inclined to open my ears rather than opening my mouth. In Jesus name, Amen!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.