A Time for Silence

…  a time to keep silence, and a time to speak… Ecclesiastes 3:7

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you did not know whether to speak or remain silent? I was in one today.  A woman was telling me that she believed God had revealed something to her as she was listening to a sermon. Something she had not seen before.

This new understanding of a scripture passage brought peace to her. She wasn’t wrong about what the scripture says, but I feared she was wrong with the way she applied it.

I felt no need to correct her — that is a bit unusual for me. There have been times when I spoke quickly to correct someone.   I saw or heard the scriptures misused or misquoted and was immediately moved to say something (hopefully, in a loving way). With this woman, I was praying for the right words, but all that came out was, “Oh, that must have been so comforting.”

She was pleased that I agreed.

It can be difficult to know whether it is best to speak or remain silent.

Moses told the Israelites to be silent and the LORD would fight for them (Exodus 14:14).

Mordecai told Esther she had not chosen a good time to be silent. She needed to speak to save God’s people. (Esther 4:14)

Job wished his friends would be quiet. Their words were painfully wrong (Job 13:5)

Habakkuk asks God why He is being silent in the face of so much evil around him (Habakkuk 1:3).

Jesus remains silent at the accusations of Pilate (Mark 15:5).

Paul, when he was still teaching in the synagogues and being opposed and reviled (Acts 18:6), was reassured by the Lord that he should continue to speak, and not be silent. (Acts 18:9).

It would appear that, just as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes (top), there are both times when we should speak, and times when we should remain silent.  Discerning the difference is something for which we must rely on the Lord.

One time we must stop and listen is after we pray for God to show us whether to speak or remain silent so we can hear His answer.

If we are to speak, we need another prayer. “Oh Lord, give me the right words, Your Words, that I might speak Your Truth, with Your love.”

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Beth Bingaman
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  1. Diane Karchner on April 5, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    “I felt no need to correct her — that is a bit unusual for me.” That made me laugh out loud, my friend, because I know that took some great faith to stay silent. You do not do that with me, and I am forever grateful. But the point you make here is so very true – sometimes we are to be quiet, and sometimes we are to speak. Love that you drew that picture through Scripture verses. And i will make a note of that prayer you offered at the end…asking God for the words, if there should even be any spoken. Thanks, as always for your wisdom!

  2. Sarah B. Robinson on April 7, 2017 at 1:06 PM

    Thank you for your contribution to the essence of silence, as we seek to balance the urgency to speak with the wisdom of knowing when not to. The prayer at the end helps me, too. Glad we could be contributors on this, the same day.

  3. Gretchen Hanna on April 10, 2017 at 4:22 PM

    I think I need to tape this reminder on my forehead. Help me when to know when to speak/stay silent, and help me to have the words when I need them. Thank you, Beth!!!

  4. Diane Tarantini on April 11, 2017 at 12:42 PM

    This is a great piece, Beth. I too have to resist the urge to blurt out my response to every single thing someone says. With age comes wisdom, right? Well, hopefully!

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