As an introvert, I have no trouble with being quiet. I can go for hours without speaking to anyone and enjoy it.
The problem starts when I actually do open my mouth to speak.
It’s taken me a while to acknowledge it, but I do own the fact that I am not the most tactful person in the world. (Actually, the best words to describe me when I do speak are abrupt, sarcastic, and surly)
I like efficiency, so if anyone tries to engage me in what I believe to be a pointless conversation, I’m bold enough to let them know, without giving any thought to how they might feel about it. (Listening to inane babble is not an efficient use of my time)
The trouble is I am a Christian–which isn’t trouble in and of itself, but because I publicly identify myself as a follower of Christ, I have to live according to a certain standard.
One of those standards includes watching what I say.
A few years ago, I felt the need to do a topic study of my Bible. For a year and a half, I searched for every verse that mentions, speaking, gossip, communication, and words.
I thought I would find about twenty verses.
At last count, I was up to seventy-eight, not including the verses that mention speaking in a positive way. (Which pushes the total to more than 100)
In that span of time, I learned that God doesn’t like when we speak ill of others, whether they’re people outside of the church, or within it. (Correction: He hates it. ) Since finishing that study, I have made it my goal to eliminate all forms of corrupt communication from my life.
It isn’t easy, but sometimes we have to be quiet–especially when we feel we have a right to speak.
When I don’t like someone I feel perfectly justified when I say nasty things about them behind their back, (I’m argumentative, so I’m more likely to say it to their face and see if they try to argue about it.), but according to Proverbs 12:13 “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble”. Notice, the verse says righteous and not self-righteous. They aren’t the same thing.
If I, as a Christian, have been made righteous by Jesus, I should not be engaging in “sinful” talk. It’s interesting how we churchgoers are so quick to point out obvious sins like, alcoholism, adultery, and sexual sin, yet we allow gossip, criticism, complaining, and name-calling to go unchecked.
James 1:26 reads, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
As Christians, we aren’t supposed to behave like everyone else. We’re not supposed to be shut-in, isolated weirdos either, but someone should be able to discern whether or not we’re Christians by how we behave and what we say.
Too often, the most vocal representatives of Christianity are ornery, belligerent, rude, merciless and self-involved, rather than God-involved.
We have so much to say based on our own agenda that God’s message to the world gets drowned out completely.
There are enough angry mouthpieces out there. We don’t need to add to the noise.
One of the first verses I memorized on this topic was Proverbs 13:3 “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”
Keeping my speech under control is a daily struggle for me, but it’s one that will end up benefiting me the most when I do succeed. I have already experienced a change in my life since I stopped complaining about everything. I appreciate more. I have gratitude. I don’t worry as much. Even when things don’t go the way I plan, I still remain calm and peaceful.
I’m not saying that by occasionally keeping my mouth shut, I have solved all of my problems, but I haven’t created any new ones either.
Whenever I feel like I can’t keep up my end of the bargain, I read Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
It won’t be the easiest thing to do, but it will be well worth the effort.
“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Prov. 17:28
Live Well Everyone,