I have been in numerous conversations lately (both in person and online) that were just not going anywhere…or, at the very least, anywhere I wanted to go, should go, or needed to go. Conversations where I really had to decide…should I keep speaking? Speak up? Or is it time to bow out?
Can you relate?
I’m pretty sure many of you would say yes. In society today, conversations seem to be so hard at times. There are so many, countless even, conversations we find ourselves in where we are faced with this choice.
Do we continue?
Do we speak up? If we speak up, what should we say?
Would speaking up be helpful or meaningful? Or is it adding to the noise?
Is this a time to speak? Or a time to shut it down?
As many of you know, the 2019 simulcast of the IF:Gathering was this past weekend. As a member of the planning team for my local IF, I tuned in. HOLY MOLY. It was powerful.
The book of the Bible in focus this year was Proverbs and that is where I have been landing for my devotions. And, when it comes to words, there’s a lot to be said.
Now, I am not here pretending to know how to walk this out perfectly or even saying I do it well. I am here to point to truth and here is some to consider about our words…
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) //The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) // A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:4 (NIV) // The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) // Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
…and those are just a few from Proverbs!
Our words matter deeply. What we say, text, type, DM, Snap, etc….carries a power that we often are not fully aware of or even acknowledge. Or, even worse, sometimes we flat out ignore it and say whatever our sinful little hearts desire. As Hannah Brencher, author and founder of World Needs More Love Letters says, “My words could either be balm or venom. I get the choice daily.”
That’s it. We get a choice. A huge part of that is the decision of whether or not to speak. There are times where our voice is powerful, necessary, encouraging, and healing. And there are times where it is the opposite, where speaking up is diminishing, hurtful, and destructive.
Short and sweet, my prayer for us all is discernment, the courage, and the strength.
Discernment to know the differences.
Courage to speak life where death is creeping in.
Strength to shut our mouths when silence needs to reign.
Because sometimes, the best option is silence. Sometimes, the loudest message is sending no message at all. For there is a time for everything…