"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: . . . A time to keep silence, and a time to speak"
- Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7
I can think of so many times when I should have kept silent, but I just had to speak. On more than one occasion I have said something, and the moment it left my lips, I thought, Why did I just say that?
And I have found myself instantly wishing I could have those words back.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to say the perfect thing, but instead, you ended up saying the lamest thing possible?
It reminds me of when Peter, along with James and John, witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. What an awesome privilege these three men had been given! Their eyes were the only ones who got to see Jesus' face and clothes suddenly becoming shining like the sun. And then they had the privilege of having a front row seat as Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus about His upcoming trials. Even as this conversation was taking place, however, Peter blurted out, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. . ." (Mark 9:5). Mark includes this interesting commentary: "He did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid" (verse 6).
But Peter wasn't quite finished. He said, "Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
I wonder if Moses turned to Jesus and asked, "Who is that guy?"
"Oh, that's Rock. Never mind."
How easily thoughts can jump into our minds, and we just say them without thinking. But how much better it is to think about it a moment and ask ourselves, Is this the right thing to say? Would this be an appropriate statement to make? Would this glorify the Lord?
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (NIV).
If we applied that filter to our conversations-"Will this comment build this person up? Will these words benefit this person?"-imagine what a difference there would be in the content of our words.