Wednesday, 29 August 2012

When to Keep Silent

Let me just say right off the bat that I have a problem with keeping my mouth shut when it is probably best that I do. Is my saying something every time I feel the urge to do so really that important to God? Speaking the truth in love, even when it seems unloving to the world is certainly important and necessary, is it not? Yes, AND, however, the Lord also wants us to do so with wisdom and compassion and love with the eternal consequences ever before us.

A long while back, a friend in the Lord gave me this illustration to help me understand what I was doing wrong. He said:

Say you have a cat. This cat loves fresh salmon. One day you put down a dish of fresh, yummy salmon for your cat, and your cat decided, for whatever reason, that he wasn't hungry yet. You, on the other hand, decide that it is time for the cat to eat the salmon you have placed before him, and you want him to eat it NOW. So you take the cat by the scruff of the neck and start jamming this yummy salmon down the cat's throat. This cat might never want to eat salmon again, especially if it is coming from you. 

Sigh. Wise words.

James 1:26  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Now having said that, I don't want to confuse the saying or not saying with something that is similar but ever so different. I also see this being done today, and it is just as wrong as saying things that need to be left to the Holy Spirit to convict the person of in His own time. What I mean is, it is also wrong to not say something because one wants to feign being "loving" but it comes out of a fear of losing the other person's affection. We are to speak the truth in love. That doesn't mean going on and on about something when the person stopped listening hours ago. It also doesn't mean not saying anything at all. It is somewhere in the middle. We need to have the wisdom to speak the truth in love, once, maybe twice AT MOST, and then leave it with the Lord to do His work in the life of that person, and just show that person how much you love him in the Lord.

Have I perfected this? No. It is still something the Lord is working with me on, to develop that wisdom of when to speak, and when to STOP IT and let Him do His work...this is difficult for me, extremely so. I go from one extreme (to go on and on about something) to the other (to not say anything at all, and do a "loving act" phoney as can be).

Thankfully, the Lord knows what to do with a few measly loaves and fishes (my feeble and much less than  perfect offerings), and make them abound with His good nourishment for the soul. :)


  1. I love the cat picture!

    That is one good illustration, too. I agree with you that things need to be said, sometimes reinforced, and then perhaps dropped. I know that sometimes things people said YEARS ago will hit me.

    1. Hi Ma,

      Me too...and there have been times when people's silence when I said something wrong was much more potent than any words could have been... the words could have been right, but the Spirit was wrong, ykwim?

  2. Hi Susan,
    How true!
    Too much of a good thing is no good at all. We cannot force someone to believe what we have to offer, we can only explain what we know, the rest is up to the Holy Spirit to convict the person listening. If we push and force someone into believing, then the conversion is of man and not of God and that person is really not saved. Prayer is key here, to take what we have shared and pray and ask God to reach the person in the way He knows is best.

    I love the pic of the cat too. Cute!


    1. Prayer is key here, to take what we have shared and pray and ask God to reach the person in the way He knows is best.

      Hi Child of God. I agree, especially with the bottom-line comment about the importance of prayer and faith. Too much of a good thing IS NOT good. The Lord tells us many things about this world and about things that have taken place in the past, and now in the present, as well as what is to happen in this world's future. He does not call on us to stomp out all sin wherever we see it. We are to watch and to pray, and speak as the Lord gives us utterance. If we do not speak in love we are no better than a clanging cymbal. And then we are to see all the marvelous things the Lord will do, just as He promised us, in His perfect time. :) Thanks for visiting and commenting Child of God and Ma <3

  3. So true. Proverbs has lots of good advice on when to speak and when not to. Like you've said, neither extreme is good, but how do we find the happy balance? When, for example, do we employ Proverbs 26:4 and when 26:5? God help us!

    Yes, say it once, maybe twice, then leave it up to God. Jesus confronted the rich young ruler once, yep only once. When will we learn? We can't win anyone with fancy oration or Starbuck's Coffee 'n bells and whistles. (Well, we might can win them, but probly not unto salvation).

    God wins them, while we learn to love and obey... and when to be silent, cherishing the truth with prayer and petition asking God to open ears and hearts, not inclined to give what is holy to the dogs or throwing our pearls before the swine, just so we can feel good about wagging our blessèd tongues. And that was a mouthful. I shall hush now! Besides, the dog and swine thing may mean something completely different. (I should also learn that I have lots to learn). :-) Blessings! xoxo

  4. So true Petra! I have a difficult time with this, and therefore the reason I bring it up ;-)

    It's so easy to see other people's problems and tell them what exactly they need to do to get fixed, lol, and fail to see that we have even bigger problems than the ones we are trying to fix in other people, ykwim? sigh. The situation with Jesus saying "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone..." says it all. Jesus spoke little, but His actions spoke much louder than His words...and what was that? Forgiveness. Another problem area for me regarding a couple of people that I really do not like. Great big deep earth shaking sigh.

    1. Yes, I do know what you mean. I too struggle much in this area and need to remember that God is sovereign and that Jesus (The Word) is Lord, and that I need Him to direct the ole squeaky rudder that is my tongue. xo

  5. Our Heavenly Father keeps reminding that my anger will not help to bring about the righteousness that He desires, and I am yet to win an argument with Him over it. Sigh.

    1. I gave two ways that we can be wrong in this trouble with the tongue, but I thought of a third way today, because it was the way that I was MISbehaving today... the third way to err is by wanting to let loose on a person, however remain quiet and shoot ugly glances at the person, which will make me a lot less ugly than letting the torrent of ugly thoughts stream through my vocal cords. SIGH.

      I was also praying, but they were not pious prayers at all. They were an S.O.S. call sent out in the midst of much mental suffering.


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