To everything there is a season . . . 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 just had to speak. Have you ever done that? Have you ever said something, and the moment it left your lips, you thought, Why did I just say that? But you said it.
The Bible says, "My dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry" (James 1:19, NLT). How much better it would be for us if we would pause for a moment before we speak, asking ourselves, Is this the right thing to say? Would this be an appropriate statement to make? Lord, would this glorify You?
Peter was very outspoken, which is why I like him so much. One of my favorite stories about him was when he was on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, James, and John. Jesus told His three disciples to stay awake with Him. Yet Peter and the boys fell asleep. When they woke up, Jesus was shining like the sun and talking with Moses and Elijah.
So Peter stood up and said, "It is good for us to be here" (Mark 9:5). I like the commentary Mark's gospel adds: "He said this because he didn't really know what else to say" (verse 6, NLT). But he said it anyway!
Have you ever been in a situation like that, when you wanted to say the perfect thing, yet you ended up saying the lamest thing possible?
An old proverb advises, "Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and dispel all doubt." Or, as another proverb says, "A closed mouth gathers no foot."
There is a time to speak. And there is a time to be quiet. We need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our lives to know which is which.