A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. ~ Proverbs 29:11
As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:7 there is “…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;” It is up to us to discern when to speak and when to keep silence. I’ve often told my husband, after some unpleasant situation, that “I wanted to give her a piece of my mind!” Of course, his jocular response is, “Don’t do that. It’s your last piece!” But how often have I vented my thoughts or opinions on someone, only to regret it soon thereafter? Too often to admit!
There are times we must boldly proclaim the truth. But we must be careful that it is the truth we are speaking. It seems to me that discernment is the need of the hour. I want to be sensitive to know when to share my thoughts, and when to keep it till another time. A few questions we can use to guide us might be these:
- Is what I’m about to share helpful to this situation?
- Is this information from God’s Word, or just my own opinion?
- Do I have a perspective from personal experience that can help this situation?
- Would this information be well received now?
- Does this person need to hear the Gospel?
The answers to these questions can help eliminate unnecessary talk. If the person is angry, they may not receive any words very well, even helpful ones. If you have no experience with what is being discussed, then how can you help? If the person needs to hear the Gospel, then we should boldly share it. If we see that we have nothing of value to add, we can always excuse ourselves by offering to pray for the person, and then actually praying for them.
Only a fool stands around and gives his ideas on a matter about which he knows nothing; the wise man waits, considers and prays before sharing his thoughts. I pray the Lord will help me to be wise.