My Grace-Full Life

12.10.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: When Being Quiet is Prudent

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Proverbs 21:23 ESV says, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Proverbs 21:23 ESV says, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

There’s a part of me that wants to create a meme of this verse, without the Bible verse reference, and see how much it’s shared and how far it goes. The cynic in me thinks it would go far, and ironically, I think it would be liked and shared by people who need to follow the advice most of all.

When it comes to the things we say, there are two universal truths. The first universal truth is: everyone has an opinion. But the other universal truth is: not everyone wants to hear it. Some people would be shocked to hear that revolutionary concept because they hold their own ideas and opinions in such high regard, they cannot fathom that many wish they would just shut up.

I am largely (though not exclusively) speaking of these celebrities who shove their opinions at everyone all the time. And for the record—I detest politics and am highly selective about who I discuss political matters with. So the following is not a statement about my political opinion, but just an observation of the story as it’s reported in the news.

Legendary 70s singer Linda Ronstadt was recently honored at the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement recognition. Instead of simply thanking the audience for the recognition, she took a shot at the host of evening’s events, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I don’t care what your politics are—that’s rude and ungracious. Just say thank you and leave your opinion at the voting polls! Good grief! But of course, that’s the growing trend—Celebrities using awards and recognition as a platform to spout out their opinions instead of simply saying thank you.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing this trend infiltrate other areas too. From businesses who deny services to someone who wears a political accessory they don’t agree with… businesses sued because their Christian values don’t line up with someone’s political agenda… and all the way to the church! In fact, yesterday’s news reported a church in California that made headlines with a controversial nativity scene. It depicts Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in individual cages with barbed wire. This church is using the birth of our Savior as a political statement of the refugee situation at the border. I’m not going to get into this other to say that this church seems to have missed the part of the story that states that the Holy Family was in Bethlehem for a census, not immigration. Lest you think I’m being too literal about things—let’s just say that it doesn’t matter what I think of the border situation, I don’t think it’s appropriate to use the birth of Jesus to make a political statement.

But maybe you wish I would just be quiet too! I rarely do this, but my frustration is out the roof right now. And that’s the beauty of this form of communication. You have the option to stop reading and move on. This blog is about MY Grace-Full Life and my journey walking with God. It’s about what He teaches me and the way He convicts my heart.

As we move into 2020, I’m bracing for more opinions to be shoved in my face, whether I like it or not. And I dread it. Because I won’t respond to them. No matter how bruised my tongue gets from biting it and even if I have to sit on my hands to restrain the impulse to type a response—I refuse to engage in these discussions.

I rarely bring these kinds of controversial topics to my blog because, once again, I do not like discussing politics. I think there is a time and a place for them. I certainly don’t think anyone has ever swayed an opinion with our society’s crass way of making an argument— I.e., “I’m right, you’re wrong, and because you don’t agree with me, you’re a big stupid dummy-head.” Clearly, the art of debate is a lost art in America.

Anyway, I ranted about this longer than I intended. The point is, we are told over and over in the Bible to guard our words. As Christians, we HAVE to be diligent with what we say. We are representatives of Christ! And in some cases, we are the only Bible that others will ever read.

James 3:5-12 offers one of the most powerful illustrations to the damage done but tongues that run amok. He said in 5b-6a, “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” He also said in verse 8, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” And in verses 9-10, he wrote, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” All of this is from the ESV translation.

And we come full circle back to Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Sometimes, the greatest prayers we can lift up are the ones when we ask the Holy Spirit to place His holy hand across our mouths and restrain our words. To be clear—sometimes, words are necessary, but when it comes to matters of opinion… we need to be cautious in how we speak them.

Today, as you pray, thank God for wisdom from Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose your words carefully. Ask Him to help you know when to speak and when to be quiet. Ask for discernment in all you say and do.

There’s a part of me that wants to create a meme of this verse, without the Bible verse reference, and see how much it’s shared and how far it goes. The cynic in me thinks it would go far, and ironically, I think it would be liked and shared by people who need to follow the advice most of all.

When it comes to the things we say, there are two universal truths. The first universal truth is: everyone has an opinion. But the other universal truth is: not everyone wants to hear it. Some people would be shocked to hear that revolutionary concept because they hold own ideas and opinions in such high regard, they cannot fathom that many wish they would just shut up.

I am largely (though not exclusively) speaking of these celebrities who shove their opinions at everyone all the time. And for the record—I detest politics and am highly selective about who I discuss political matters with. So the following is not a statement about my political opinion, but just an observation of the story as it’s reported in the news.

Legendary 70s singer Linda Ronstadt was recently honored at the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement recognition. Instead of simply thanking the audience for the recognition, she took a shot at the host of evening’s events, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I don’t care what your politics are—that’s rude and ungracious. Just say thank you and leave your opinion at the voting polls! Good grief! But of course, that’s the growing trend—Celebrities using awards and recognition as a platform to spout out their opinions instead of simply saying thank you.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing this trend infiltrate other areas too. From businesses who deny services to someone who wears a political accessory they don’t agree with… businesses sued because their Christian values don’t line up with someone’s political agenda… and all the way to the church! In fact, yesterday’s news reported a church in California that made headlines with a controversial nativity scene. It depicts Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in individual cages with barbed wire. This church is using the birth of our Savior as a political statement of the refugee situation at the border. I’m not going to get into this other to say that this church seems to have missed the part of the story that states that the Holy Family was in Bethlehem for a census, not immigration. Lest you think I’m being too literal about things—let’s just say that it doesn’t matter what I think of the border situation, I don’t think it’s appropriate to use the birth of Jesus to make a political statement.

But maybe you wish I would just be quiet too! I rarely do this, but my frustration is out the roof right now.  And that’s the beauty of this form of communication. You have the option to stop reading and move on. This blog is about MY Grace-Full Life and my journey walking with God. It’s about what He teaches me and the way He convicts my heart.

As we move into 2020, I’m bracing for more opinions to be shoved in my face, whether I like it or not. And I dread it. Because I won’t respond to them. No matter how bruised my tongue gets from biting it and even if I have to sit on my hands to restrain the impulse to type a response—I refuse to engage in these discussions.

I rarely bring these kinds of controversial topics to my blog because, once again, I do not like discussing politics. I think there are a time and a place for them. I certainly don’t think anyone has ever swayed an opinion with our society’s crass way of making an argument— I.e., “I’m right, you’re wrong, and because you don’t agree with me, you’re a big stupid dummy-head.” Clearly, the art of debate is a lost art in America.

Anyway, I ranted about this longer than I intended. The point is, we are told over and over in the Bible to guard our words. As Christians, we HAVE to be diligent with what we say. We are representatives of Christ! And in some cases, we are the only Bible that others will ever read. 

James 3:5-12 offers one of the most powerful illustrations to the damage done but tongues that run amok. He said in 5b-6a, “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” He also said in verse 8, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” And in verses 9-10, he wrote, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” All of this is from the ESV translation. 

And we come full circle back to Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Sometimes, the greatest prayers we can lift up are the ones when we ask the Holy Spirit to place His holy hand across our mouths and restrain our words. To be clear—sometimes, words are necessary, but when it comes to matters of opinion… we need to be cautious in how we speak them.

Today, as you pray, thank God for wisdom from Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose your words carefully. Ask Him to help you know when to speak and when to be quiet. Ask for discernment in all you say and do.

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