Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Refraining My Lips

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
Proverbs 10:19

The book of Proverbs helps my walk with the Lord so much. I try to read one chapter every day, and despite the fact I’ve read this book over and over, God’s wisdom found in these pages of Scripture always teaches me something. Whether a proverb grounds me for the day’s events, whether a verse brings me to conviction, or whether a truth enlightens my understanding of circumstances that make my heart heavy, I often walk away from reading Proverbs with a word from the Lord that is just for me.

Today’s verse is such an example. I read it a few days ago and have been trying to commit it to memory ever since. Why? Because it has been a recurring theme in my dealings with others lately. I often get this sense of pride when sharing my “wisdom” with loved ones in which I think I have the answers to their problems. Without their request for advice, I happily pour forth all the wisdom I think fits their particular situation with such a self-righteous and judgmental countenance. Afterward, when I really take a good look at myself, I get so discouraged (disgusted more like it) because here was another instance I did not keep my mouth shut when I should have.

Now, I do not mean to imply that we should always be silent. For the Bible says, “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

On the one hand, some situations call for boldness, but a speaking-the-truth-in-love boldness—a God’s-clear-direction-to-speak kind of boldness that is free from self-righteous and prideful judgment. (Ephesians 4:15)

On the other hand, some situations call for our silence, perhaps because that person is not ready to hear the truth. They have not yet come to the end of themselves, which is precisely the place God wants them to get to so He can begin to heal them.

Perhaps it’s because we are not the vessel God will choose to use to bring a person to Himself and His will for their lives. I don’t know. But there are times I can feel a catch in my spirit that leads me to not speak God’s wisdom and counsel to an individual. It’s when I know it’s not my place to speak and do so anyway, that I know I have a lot to learn myself about the wisdom of learning to keep my mouth shut.

In the end, I know the one thing I can do for those I want to “help” is to pray for them. While I refrain my lips toward them, I do not have to keep quiet before God on their behalf.

“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword:
but the tongue of the wise is health.”

Proverbs 12:18

Stehekin, WA (August 2008)

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