Ecclesiastes 3: Keep Silence and Speak

Monday, March 12, 2018

"A time to keep silence, and a time to speak." ~Ecclesiastes 3:7b
You know that person who's always talking and you can never seem to get a word in edge-wise? Or what about the person who won't say anything unless you talk to him first, and even then it's only short sentences? You know who I'm talking about.

These are the two extremes. And honestly, neither one of these two extremes are what we should strive for. The Bible says that there is a time for both speaking and for keeping quiet. It all depends on the situation.

God made each of us different in our own special way. Some of us love to talk and share while others of us would rather stay quiet unless prompted. And neither one is wrong in and of itself. It's the way we use our personalities that make it right or wrong.

For example: If I love to talk, but only talk about myself and never listen to other people, that's not right. Or if I always gossip with my friends or tear other people down, that's not right either. If, on the other hand, I'm using my words to encourage and build others up, that would be right.

The Bible has a lot to say about words and how we should use them. James talks about how the tongue can "defile the whole body" and how we should be slow to speak (James 3:5-6; 1:19); 1 Peter instructs us that we should "refrain [our] tongue from evil" (1 Peter 3:10); and Ephesians says we need to put away evil speaking (Ephesians 4:31).

How can we know if we're speaking up too much or if we're too quiet? Here's some pointers I came up with:

You may need to work on being quiet more if you...

1. Talk about yourself a lot.
2. Always steer the conversation back to yourself.
3. Dominate the conversation.
4. Don't give the other person opportunities to talk.

You may need to work on speaking up more if you...

1. Have trouble starting and/or holding a conversation.
2. Only answer questions when they are directly targeted at you.
3. Avoid talking to people you don't know.

Sometimes we just need to listen and not give our opinion on a matter. But other times, we need to speak God's truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We need to use our discernment to know when to speak up and when to stay quiet.
"... a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." ~ 1 Peter3:4b KJV

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