Prudent Silence

Ecclesiastes 3:7 – “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us we should have the discernment to recognize that there “is a time to keep silence.” (Eccl.3:7). Thomas Brooks points out that there is a “foolish silence, a sullen silence, a cowardly silence, and a despairing silence. None of these are to be recommended. However, there is a prudent, holy, gracious silence to which Scripture enjoins us.” We are warned to guard our lips from hasty, intemperate words (Prov.21:23), and from uttering injurious gossip which can only stir up unhappiness and division.

An unknown author says seven mischievous “Misses” are responsible for most of our troubles: “Miss Information, Miss Quotation, Miss Representation, Miss Interpretation, Miss Construction, Miss Conception, and Miss Understanding. Don’t let yourself become involved with them. They will make you talk when you should be quiet.”

John Wesley once observed two women. One was speaking vehemently and gesturing wildly, while the other stood perfectly still and remained tranquil and unperturbed. Finally the first woman stamped her foot and shouted, Speak! so that I may have something more to say to you!’ Wesley observed, “That was a lesson for me: Silence is often the best answer to abuse!”

Rather than lose your testimony by giving expression to the carnal impulses that arise when you are miffed or when your feelings are hurt, ask the Lord to give you the self-control needed to maintain “prudent silence.”