The Bible says in Proverbs 21:23, "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." It's easy to say that until we get into a situation at work, among difficult family members, when someone cuts you off in traffic. It's easy to spout something off when we're in that emotional moment.
More appropriate verses from the Bible (just a few of my favorites):
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Proverbs 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Matthew 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
In his book, Dr. Sedler covers the cost and purpose of silence, asking good questions (because we can all do this in a bad way at times), dealing with anger and resentment, and taking a stand when it's appropriate. He weaves in Bible examples and personal examples of situations to illustrate his points.
I found this book helpful in many ways. For myself, I have a problem with wanting to rise to defense when my silence would be the best way to go. Facebook is one place where I often want to speak up, and I have learned that many times, it's best to shut up and pray.
Some of my favorite quotes from Dr. Sedler's book:
- "Silence may allow the truth to come forth on its own. . . . When you are in a situation . . . take a deep breath, pray an extra prayer and make sure you are not 'bullied' to speak out. Your silence will probably be of greater impact that an emotional outburst."
- When coming into contact with someone who is angry at us: "1) Listen. Be sure to hear what your antagonist is saying. 2) Clarify. Ask the person to clarify any areas that are unclear. 3)Exhaust the list of complaints or concerns. . . . ask if there are other issues. Do not begin to defend yourself at this point. 4) Ask for suggestions. Allow the person to give as much input as possible about solutions to the problem presented. DON'T: 1) Don't become self-protective. 2) Don't own problems that belong to others. 3) Don't argue."
- "Instead of attacking one another, we need to attack the problem."
- "Silence. Speaking up. Both change destinies. When we use these tools inappropriately, we can do great harm. And when we use them as God intended, we can change our world for the better."
I received When to Speak Up & When to Shut Up, a book published by Chosen Books, from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for my review.