Listen and silent. These words contain the same letters but have deep meaning for us as we ponder what both words mean. I do not want to say the wrong things but often in a scurry or not thinking the wrong words just seem to pop out of that mouth of mine. Others in the reading audience may have this same issue. So we listen first and try to not react before you think things through or you may have deep regrets over what you have said. Believe me I know. Take time to think what you want to say. I had heard this comparison recently somewhere not sure if over email or on the radio but it struck me as here are two words when you mix the letters up one tells you to 'listen' and then in order to listen and comprehend be 'silent'. Odd isn't it? It is hard to always be slow in answering. Maybe we feel we just have to say something but in certain cases it is best to really wait and not try to get the last word in which may be a painful or hurtful word. Sometimes in listening we may not be all there but want to be. It is frustrating to me when I zone out and I am sure frustrating to those around me. But l march on and ask God to help me with this weak area. There is a time to listen and a time to be silent. Ecclesiastes talks about there being times for things and in chapter 3:7 it says "a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak." We do not always have to be talking. Listening and comprehending is much better.
Proverbs is full of things on listening and being silent. Proverbs 1:8 for instance says "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching." It is very important for children to listen to their parents and gain from their insight and wisdom. Proverbs 4:1 goes on to say "Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding." Proverbs 22:32 continues the theme when it says "Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old." There is much to be said about listening and heeding advice and warning. Being silent and still can be a good thing.
Proverbs 17:28 says "Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent." Proverbs 10:8 says "The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin." Oh my gosh. Am I a chattering fool sometime? I feel foolish lots of times that is for sure. Proverbs 10:14 says "Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin." Fools feel they need to keep talking and do not have much to say. I guess we have all been foolish at one time or another if we are truly honest. There is a verse in Proverbs that speaks of turning off the flow. Imagine water constantly running. It has to be turned off to save water so the flow has to cease. So do meaningless words. We do not always have to talk or always have to have the last word.
Proverbs 10:19 says "Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut." Pretty straightforward wouldn't you think?One of my all time favorite verses which I often say should be a verse all newlyweds should memorize is James 1:19 which says "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." Why does human nature feel it has to be right and win the battle? Better to give in and save a relationship. Wow I think I just made up a Proverb! Proverbs 17:27 says ' a man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered." This is where the discipline of self control comes in and the ability to think before we say something about how it might impact the hearer.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." In verse 3 of this same chapter it says "As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words." Words can stir up quarrels and create huge misunderstandings or they can mend, soothe, uplift and heal. So what is your choice today? Do you want to be a babbling brook that is irritating or a soothing spring of life and peace? Think it over. And remember that tongue is hard to tame. It tells us that in James Chapter 3 but why not make it our assignment to work hard at listening and being silent?
PRAYER: Dear Lord today I want the words I say to build up and not tear down. I also want to be able to not always feel like I have to be talking. Help me to not hurt people with my mouth. Help me to use my mouth to bless others. Psalms 19:14 says "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." That is my prayer today Lord.I want what I say to please you and I want to listen to what others have to say as well. Give me your strength to do this. In Jesus Name. Amen.