In King Lear, William Shakespeare wrote, “No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.” I have considered my personal experience and the challenge to “say nothing.” We don’t like to not say a word. When someone comes up to us and says something that differs from what we think, we like to share what we think. When someone does something that goes against what we hold dear, we like to bring it to their attention. When words are said against us, we want to speak up and defend ourselves. We want to speak our mind or as we say, “Share our side.” When we see injustice or are on the receiving end of injustice, we feel the need to say something. When someone passes us while driving or accidentally bumps us with their shopping card, we might desire to open our mouths.
Proverbs 21:23 says, “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble” (NLT). Is it really that easy? To say nothing, we certainly must have the patience Shakespeare noted. We also must be confidently founded in Christ. We must be humble and not care what others like, but be focused on God.
It is not always best to be silent. There are some situations when we should be speaking up. But when we find ourselves in a situation where speaking is not going to be beneficial, we need to ask ourselves if it is good for the Kingdom? Will what we have to say represent God in the way He should be represented? Is this about Him or us? It is important to look at our motives for speaking up.
Let us pray like the Psalmist, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (141:3 NIV). May our mouths glorify our Father with the words we speak.