I am working on not talking so much.  That is not easy!  Just because a topic is being discussed does not mean I should, or have to, offer my opinion.  When a person is pontificating on a matter for consideration, that does not mean I am required to chip in my thoughts.  When I believe a person to be misinformed or incorrect in their assessment of a point of discussion, it is not a matter of international importance that I correct where I believe they are in error.

Time was I did offer my opinion… regularly. I have more often than I should, been proud to make sure others knew where I stood on whatever they were talking about.  I can’t count the times that I knew I was the one called to correct people’s lack of understanding on any number of issues (That comment was tongue in cheek!).  And if you think about it, the fact that I blog is contrary to the very thing I’m working to be better at (Keeping my opinions to myself).  OUCH!

Consider Proverbs 17:28…

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Modern paraphrase: It is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

James 1:19-20, Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Isn’t it interesting that being slow to speak is tied to being slow to anger… and anger prevents godliness.  Hmmm…

For too many years I had an almost pathological need to speak my piece on whatever the topic of discussion was at the time.  Many times the result was that I got into a debate that increased my passion which resulted periodically in wounding others (I write that to my shame).  Without meaning to do so… I offended people, caused hurt feelings, and was the source of stumbling.  If I had just remembered (And applied) the Scripture…

2 Timothy 2:23-26, Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

I have figured out that words don’t have meaning, they have USAGES. It is not the defintion of a word that matters as much as how a word is USED.  Example: What does “bank” mean?  Well… it could be where you sit when while fishing at a river.  It could be what a plane does when it turns.  It could be an institution where your money is kept.  The way you figure out a word’s meaning is by how it is used.  But of even greater importance is the manner in which words are used!  It would have been much better had I been patient… gentle… and gracious in my use of words rather than debating a point under discussion.  That would have glorified God.

Learn a lesson from me and consider if maybe… just maybe… it would be good not to speak and/or argue but to listen… a lot.  You never have to apologize, nor will you have regrets, for something you have not said.