… 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.
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.”