Keeping Quiet is a Great Option
Saturday - February 13th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 3:1-12
It is foolish to belittle one's neighbor;
a sensible person keeps quiet.
Silence is underrated in our modern world. Noise constantly bombards us. It is hard to find a place where you can even get "peace and quiet" even if you have been intentionally searching for it.
We have even become uncomfortable with silence. We run fans at night - just for the noise. Sound machines and sound apps on mobile phones are hot products. Students study with music or videos playing. Some people leave the TV on when they are home to fill the silence.
We often use empty words to fill awkward silence or spans of verbal pauses in conversations. When we talk for the sake of making noise, we are doomed to make mistakes in what we say. Some of those mistakes may hurt others. Some may offend others. Some of our mistaken words may waste valuable time.
Proverbs 11:12 addresses how our words can foolishly get us in trouble and hurt others. It also makes it clear that sometimes not saying anything at all can be the best choice. "It is foolish to belittle one's neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet."
James 3:1-12 stresses how dangerous the little body part - the tongue - can be. It can do a lot of damage. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Everything we say to others in person or online can be categorized as one of three types of words: 1) Life Words, 2) Death Words, or 3) Hollow Words.
Life words add value to the lives of others. They bring encouragement. They build people up. Death words destroy and damage. They crush others. They pull people down. Hollow words do nothing. They just fill verbal pauses. They do not have a specific effect on others. They are often merely wasted energy. They add to the noise and destroy silence.
For the next week, evaluate your words. Think about whether what you say to your spouse, neighbor, co-worker, or friend is a death word, life word, or hollow word. Ask God to make you more intentional about spreading life words as you talk to others or post a comment online.
Also, remember that remaining silent is an option. The best way to encourage and lift someone up may be to say nothing at all. This is especially true if they expect an intense or heated response from you to something they have said or posted. Responding to hostile words from others with silence can open doors for you to be of influence for Christ. Don't forget, "A sensible person keeps quiet" (Proverbs 11:12).
We do not have to fill the silence with words. Keeping quiet is a great option!