When to Keep Quiet

30 July 2017 PM – Proverbs 10:19 – Comm17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: In Judges 16:17 we read, “That [Samson] told [Delilah] all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” Do you think that Samson lived to regret that he did not keep quiet that night? He sure did. That night he lost his power with God. That night he became a slave. That night the Philistines put out his eyes and he was blind for the rest of his life, all because he did not keep quiet.

There are times when you and I should also keep quiet. Solomon covers this topic well in the book of Proverbs.

Transition: This evening I want to answer four questions about communication that will help us know when to keep quiet.

1.        Is it right to say?

a.         Don’t say it if it might be evil!
1)         (Proverbs 10:19) “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
2)         (Psalms 39:1) “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”
b.         Don’t say it if it may not true
1)         (Proverbs 20:14) “It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.” There is nothing wrong with trying to get a good deal, but we must never lie to get it.
2)          (Proverbs 30:10) “Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.” Falsely accusing a person is never right. We must be sure that we know the facts before we accuse anyone.
c.          Don’t say it if it is not appropriate
1)         (Proverbs 25:20) “As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.”
2)         When a person has lost a loved one or is distressed over a problem it is not the time to sing joyful songs to him. He needs words of comfort or encouragement.

2.        Have I thought first?

a.         Don’t say it if you are not sure you should
1)         (Proverbs 11:12) “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.”
2)         (Proverbs 12:23) “A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.”
3)         (Proverbs 15:28) “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” A righteous person studies or ponders and meditates on what to say before he says it. A wicked person just blurts out all that comes to his mind.
4)         (Proverbs 17:27) “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”
5)          (Proverbs 29:11) “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Those who give someone a piece of your mind reveal the foolishness of their empty head.
b.         Don’t say it if it is rash
1)         (Proverbs 16:32) “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
2)         (Proverbs 17:28) “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Understanding is related to having insight or being discerning. It is having wisdom to keep your mouth shut when it is not time to speak.
3)          (Proverbs 29:20) “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

3.        Could it cause harm?

a.         Don’t say it if it might be gossip
1)         (Proverbs 11:13) “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” A talebearer is one who carries tales or stories about other people.
2)         (Proverbs 12:23) “A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.” A prudent person knows when something is best left unsaid and he keeps his mouth shut.
b.         Don’t say it if it is hurtful not helpful
1)         (Proverbs 14:3) “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve [protect] them.” A wise person will seek to help or protect those to whom he speaks. He will not use his words like a rod to proudly beat on others.
2)         (Proverbs 18:21) “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it [that power] shall eat the fruit thereof.” All who love the power of wielding their tongue like a sharp sword will eat the fruit or painful results of their words.
3)         (Proverbs 26:4) “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” If a person speaks to you like a fool (rashly, angrily, hurtfully, gossiping, etc), do not do the same back to him or you are no better than he.
c.          Don’t say it if it will make things worse
1)         (Proverbs 21:23) “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” This is a GREAT verse to memorise and put into practice.
2)          (Proverbs 23:9) “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise [treat as rotten] the wisdom of thy words.” Some people have shown by their actions that they are fools. Often it is a waste of time to try to give them wise counsel because they will treat your words like garbage.

4.        Will I later regret it?

a.         Don’t say it if it could hurt your testimony
1)          (Proverbs 13:3) “He that keepeth [preserves] his mouth keepeth [protects] his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” “Keepeth” is used twice in this verse but they come from different Hebrew words. The first means to preserve, like a person who seals, cans or freezes food to preserve its quality. The second means to protect or to keep safe. The person who seals his mouth to preserve its quality will protect his life.
2)         (Proverbs 17:28) “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Sometimes the best thing you can say is NOTHING!
b.         Don’t say it if it is boastful
1)         (Proverbs 25:14) “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.”
2)         (Proverbs 27:1) “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
3)          (Proverbs 27:2) “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” It is far better to let others think of complements themselves than it is to ask them to complement you by boasting.

Conclusion: James 3:2 says, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” If we are going to avoid offending God and others with our mouths, we must learn when to keep quiet.

Before you speak, ask yourself the four questions we answered tonight. 1) Is it right to say? 2) Have I thought first? 3) Could it cause harm? 4) Will I later regret it?

I have found that one of the things that helps me to keep me from saying things I should not say is to force myself to obey God and clearly apologize to those I have hurt with my words. The humiliation and pain of apologizing helps me think before I speak.

Whether you are a child, a teen, or an adult, if you have said things you should not say, then you need to confess your sin to God, then humble yourself and apologize to those you have hurt without making any excuses for your sin.

Chorus: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight O Lord.