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Somebody said, “It is a great art in the Christian life to learn to be silent. Under oppositions, rebukes, injuries, still be silent. It is better to say nothing, even if the occasion should seem to justify a degree of anger.” How does one keep silent when everything around is out of control especially when we say we are followers of Jesus? The apostle James emphasized, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26 ESV). Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers explained, “The first mark of true religion is gentleness of tongue, just as the contrary, blasphemy, is the most damning fault of all.” Also, it highlights what Jesus reminds us of the words we speak affects our eternal future, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37, KJV).
How great is our little tongue? Interestingly, Dale A. Robbins explained, “It has been said that the “tongue” is one of the most exercised muscles of our body. It has been estimated that in a typical week, the average person will speak enough words to fill a 500-page book!” This is the reason why we should remember that one of the wisdom’s best qualities is the ability to hold the tongue. The simple fact is this: God gave us two ears and one mouth signifying which aspect of attitude one must apply in every conversation. Let’s keep in mind how God intended for which part needs more time and utilized during any discussions we engage in at the moment.
Personally, I had my share of irresponsible words causing greater problems, coming from allowing my emotional trigger of pride ahead of my logical thinking. In the end, I became embarrassed by my actions and apologized for what I did. Unfortunately, unkind words came out and cannot take back. And it caused the intended (not accidental) damage of belittling other’s opinion and negating their situation without any consideration for the long-term value of the relationship. Yes, I won the argument but lost a relationship, and my action resulted in bringing more negativity on both sides.
On the other hand, when is speaking out becomes appropriate? It becomes correct when there's an opportunity for explaining oneself and clarifying one’s stand. Also, it becomes suitable when done for the sake of agreement and maintaining relationship. Now, how does one respond when pride rears its ugly head and asserts itself being right and condemned you as wrong? This scenario allows an opportunity of choosing silence after everything is said and done in the right way. Moreover, silence acts as our ally in the situation without aggravating the situation any further.
Remember, it is no longer about asserting our right and insisting our defense but instead allowing God’s intervention of our cause. Consequently, there are three truths in every conflict: our side of the truth, their side of the truth and God’s truth. No matter what we do, only God brings out the truth in the end. Just continually trust Him for He knows what to do.
Applying silence needs constant practice. First, it begins with guarding our mouth against speaking careless words. Somebody said, “We have an epidemic of people sharing their opinions without regard to whether or not they have anything meaningful to say. Next, let’s hold back our tongue from sweet talk and insincere flattery. Here’s something to consider in this matter:
The next time you receive a letter that carries the word "Sincerely" above the signature of the writer, pause a moment and think of the origin of that word. It was first used as "sincerely," meaning "without wax," by ancient sculptors to mark a flawless piece of work. Wax was then commonly employed to conceal defects, to patch a chipped nose, a poorly shaped finger, etc. Sincerely is too honest a word to be used loosely, but it is a good word when consciously employed. ~ Source Unknown
Finally, safeguard our heart from any “root of bitterness.” Alfred Auston, Slips of Speech, Funk and Wagnalls Company commented,
When you speak, speak clearly and naturally. Say what you mean and mean what you say; be brief and sensible. Words should drop from the lips as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, in due succession and of due weight.
At the end of the day, we make the choices affecting any situation towards success or failure. If at all possible, preserve the relationship even if you disagree with one another and if keeping the relationship is not feasible, settle everything amicably and separate ways as brethren in Christ.
Let’s talk again!