Ecclesiastes 3:7 “A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,”
Call it strategy or lack of energy; there are times when I don’t offer my two cents in a particular conversation. I noticed myself frequently practicing this when I was the only parent to 3 small children. Conversations with my friends and family would generally include, “I have to pick my battles” and that is how I viewed my relationship with my children. If it involved their safety, manners, or a violation of the Ten Commandments, I went to battle. Everything else was open to interpretation from my kids picking their own outfits, eating spaghetti for breakfast, or painting their faces with Sharpie markers. In studying God’s word, I now know I was trying to think before I spoke to my children as to not always be the one spoiling the moment and constantly telling them NO!
I find in holding my tongue and picking my battles is a daily activity starting with my family and spreading to those I interact with throughout the day. I have also found it to be a benefit when consoling those who are grieving to choose my words carefully. I remember some who came to console me were not sensitive and their comments, opinions, and advice were of a little encouragement. For example, telling a young widow whose husband died suddenly to be thankful he is in a much better place is not be a good choice of heart- warming support. I get it, people mean well, but sometimes it is just okay to sit in silence and say nothing at all; the effort speaks volumes!
In Proverbs, Solomon, the son of David listed practical advice for everyday life and mentions at least 20 different times the importance of thinking before speaking. Proverbs 1:27-28 says, “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue”. There are times when I struggle with holding my tongue or not spewing my opinion and a perfect example is with social media. It is so easy to put your beliefs out there and comment on everyone’s postings whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This is one area that I made the decision not to fall in the trap of negative comments or jumping on political bandwagons. I choose to post only positive and uplifting messages, stories, and prayer requests. My goal is to choose my words carefully and lift up, not tear down.
Remember, action speaks louder than words. If I choose not to respond to an opinion or comment and “pick my battles”, I am merely demonstrating my love for others and Jesus through my actions.