Silence is Golden

A few weeks ago, I was giving my darling three year old granddaughter a ride over to play at my home. Out of the blue her sweet voice travelled to the front of the car, and she seriously said:

”Mimi, it’s time for you to go to Heaven.”

(Wait, did I hear her correctly?) “Really, why?” I responded.

“Because you’re old,” she said. ”You look old. Your hair is girlish, but your hands are wrinkled and so is your face.”

Bahhhhhh. I couldn’t decide if I should laugh hysterically or cry the rest of the way home!  (Maybe both. Tough news on a morning where I had actually “tried” with my hair and makeup!).

Many a mother (and grandmother) have experienced both the hilarity and the horror of having their child say exactly what they think, when they think it. At 60, I’m very thankful that I’ve gained much wisdom over the last three decades – both through my own mistakes, and through learning from others. I know I have more to learn, but often I feel so confident that I have THE wisdom to share – with anyone and everyone – that I share it immediately!

This past November, however, I heard God speaking to me about the importance of keeping my “helpful suggestions” to myself until I’m asked for them (or until he prompts me to speak) and to instead bring my concerns straight to him.

Really? I thought. When I have such “valuable wisdom” to offer?!

Needless to say, he began teaching me that there is also wisdom in sometimes being silent. Thus, I am in fresh process of relearning my “wisdom sharing” by trying to pause before speaking — sometimes by not speaking at all! — and sometimes by rewording what I would have initially said from, “You should…”  to “One thought could be…”

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. (Galatians 5:22) I know this verse. I share it often. Yet, I’ve simply forgotten that “self-control” includes controlling the tongue.  We aren’t always supposed to speak whatever we’re thinking. Even when we think we have good, wise things to share (and especially not under the guise of “speaking the truth in love.”)

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:6)

As believers, we can profoundly influence people in our sphere of community. We can build up or tear them down. It’s very important to be able to discern which one we will be doing before we speak. As I continue to grow and learn these things myself, I’m finding that pausing and asking Jesus for his wisdom is the very best place to start.

Journal/Reflection Questions:

1. What is your initial response when a loved one shares wisdom with you?

2. Do you have the same response if it’s a friend vs. your mom or your mother in law?

If not, why is that?

3. Do you already, or could you begin to, ask Jesus for wisdom before sharing your opinion with others?  What person(s) in your life would this directly affect?

Listening Prayer:

Ask Jesus:  “Whose hearts am I careful with when I speak?  In what relationships do I need to start going to You before I speak?  Dear Jesus, please fill me with your wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent.  In Jesus name, I pray.

Kathy Morgan has been married to her best friend, Bob, for over 37 years. Together they have four grown, married, children and seven grandchildren. Kathy is a Hospital Chaplain and loves mentoring women, hosting ministry events in her home, prayer, cooking, reading historical Biblical fiction, and eating all forms of potatoes

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