Grace to Shut Up

Grace to Shut Up

“I just say whatever is on my mind,” a person who was expressing an opinion in an animated way recently said to me. I didn’t respond to the comment, but couldn’t help but think about the Bible verse that says, “A fool uttereth his whole mind, but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Proverbs 29:11, KJV).
When I was young man I felt an internal mandate to not only express my opinion, but also to convince others that mine was the right way to see a matter. I’m not sure if it’s simply a matter of maturing with age or maturing in grace, or maybe a combination of the two, but I don’t feel the need to always make others agree with me anymore. To the contrary, I find myself often saying nothing at times when my thoughts may be in direct contradiction to what somebody may be expressing to me.

The Bible makes it clear that there is a virtue in learning when and how to be quiet. James wrote that we should be quick to hear, but slow to speak. (See James 4:19) Paul wrote to “let your speech be always with grace” (Colossians 4:6). Another time he taught that we should study to be quiet and mind our own business. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:11)

Highly opinionated babblers can be trying at times. I know because I used to be one. Maybe I still am at times, I’m not sure. I do know that I’m a verbal processor who tends to sort through things by talking about them. I recognize that I need grace to enable me to shut-up sometimes.

When I see opinionated, non-stop talkers like the one I mentioned in the first paragraph, I occasionally ask myself, “Do I still act like that at times?” That’s certainly not what I want.

Do you say too much, too often? If so, pray for God’s grace to flow through your actions in such a way as to cause you to know when to say nothing and then enable you to do it. Sometimes grace never looks better than when it enable us to simply shut-up.

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