Christianity 201

December 2, 2013

Ten Occasions When You Should Say Nothing

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This is a recurring theme here. Maybe God is trying to tell us (me) something! This list was compiled by Lina Abrujama at the blog True Woman under the title, Ten Times It’s Wise to Hold Your Tongue

I talk too much. Way, way too much.

But God is committed to teaching me when to hold my tongue.

With that in mind, let me share ten situations with you where I’m learning it’s better to refrain from talking:

1. When you have no idea what to say

Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

2. When you’re wrongly accused

1 Peter 2:23: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return.”

Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.”

3. When you’re mad

Proverbs 25:28: “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

4. When you’re confused about life

Lamentations 3:25–28: “The Lord is good for those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord . . . Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth to the dust—there may yet be hope.”

5. When you wouldn’t want someone else to find out you said it

Luke 12:3: “Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

6. When you don’t really mean it

Proverbs 3:28: “Do not say to your neighbor ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you.”

7. When you can’t stop yearning for the good old days

Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Say not, why were the former days better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

8. When you have a lot to do and you don’t like it

Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling or complaining.”

9. When the timing is wrong

Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.”

10. When you don’t have anything to say that gives grace

Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear it.”

March 12, 2011

Knowing When to Say Nothing

Tomorrow at Thinking Out Loud, we’re introducing the ministry of Steve McVey, so I felt it would be helpful to readers here to introduce you to Steve as well, but through his blog.  This post first appeared there in January under the title, The Grace to Shut Up.

“I just say whatever is on my mind,” a person who was expressing an opinion in an animated way recently said to me. I didn’t respond to the comment, but couldn’t help but think about the Bible verse that says, “A fool uttereth his whole mind, but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Proverbs 29:11, KJV).

When I was young man I felt an internal mandate to not only express my opinion, but also to convince others that mine was the right way to see a matter. I’m not sure if it’s simply a matter of maturing with age or maturing in grace, or maybe a combination of the two, but I don’t feel the need to always make others agree with me anymore. To the contrary, I find myself often saying nothing at times when my thoughts may be in direct contradiction to what somebody may be expressing to me.

The Bible makes it clear that there is a virtue in learning when and how to be quiet. James wrote that we should be quick to hear, but slow to speak. (See James 4:19) Paul wrote to “let your speech be always with grace” (Colossians 4:6). Another time he taught that we should study to be quiet and mind our own business. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:11)

Highly opinionated babblers can be trying at times. I know because I used to be one. Maybe I still am at times, I’m not sure. I do know that I’m a verbal processor who tends to sort through things by talking about them. I recognize that I need grace to enable me to shut-up sometimes.

When I see opinionated, non-stop talkers like the one I mentioned in the first paragraph, I occasionally ask myself, “Do I still act like that at times?” That’s certainly not what I want.

Do you say too much, too often? If so, pray for God’s grace to flow through your actions in such a way as to cause you to know when to say nothing and then enable you to do it. Sometimes grace never looks better than when it enable us to simply shut-up.

Steve McVey

November 3, 2010

On Friendship, Baptism and Repenting of Righteousness

“…spurring one another on towards love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24) 

Bizarrely, the closer some relationships are, the more permissive they can become; and our passion to do what is right is diluted. As we feel able to relax completely with trusted friends, we can abuse the sense of ease by letting our behavior slip. Gradually language that we would never use in public slips into the conversation and off-white humour that we know is inappropriate becomes part of the common currency of our friendship, because we feel able to let our hair down. The friendship has now become one that gives permission (where we give each other a license to compromise) rather than providing exhortation (where we encourage each other towards character and excellence).

~Jeff Lucas, writing in Lucas on Life, devotional reading for Jan 20, 2005.

 

Like birth, baptism means life. It is done once, yet it is for all of our life….we need to discover ways to communicate baptismal living. If I say, “I was married,” you will likely assume that my wife has died or I am divorced. But if I say, “I am married,” you will assume I have a wife and that on a certain date I was married and still am. Although it is true and essential to say I was baptized, it is also necessary to assert, “I am baptized.”

~Thomas H. Schattauer
“…What must we do, then to be saved? To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but if that is all you do you may remain just an elder brother. To truly become Christians we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness — the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope and trust in things other than God, and that in both our wrongdoing and right doing we have been seeking to get around God or get control of God in order to get hold of these things.”

~ Timothy Keller in The Prodigal God, 2008 Dutton; pp 77-8; see also Prov. 16:2