Speak Up or Shut Up?

Speak up, or shut up? It’s not always clear what we should do. Something is weighing on your mind, but saying it out loud could be risky, so the better choice might be to stay quiet. At least for the time being, or maybe always. In one sense the issue justifies and warrants being said, but you know there will be collateral damage as a result. No one likes personal damage, especially if it affects other innocent bystanders who are your friends.

Taking the Bible at face value doesn’t always hold the answer. After all we are told to: Speak the truth in love, confront the false teachers, and yet speak gently, we have a warning in Proverbs 17:28 “Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent” and in Ecclesiastes 3:7b “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak”. So what to do?

I think God gave us a heart and a head to use in balance for each individual situation because every case is different, just as every person is different. The wisdom of Solomon is needed, and we get encouraged in James 1:5 with the promise: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. The crux of the matter lies in this verse. Asking means praying, so we pray for guidance each and every time we need to know whether to speak up or shut up.

Other than getting closer to our loving Father, guess what happens when you are praying about the thing that’s weighing on your mind? Nothing! Yes nothing, because when you are in prayer you are not shouting, or shooting from the hip. You are not even trying to make excuses or give reasons for your dilemma. As the old phrase says, “silence is golden”, so now you have some much needed time to think carefully about the ripple effect of your words if you still decide to speak up. Up until this point, there has been no speaking harshly, or awkward deliberate silence. Only then I believe we will be in the right position to finally decide whether to speak up, or shut up!


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