When Less is Better
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. ~Proverbs 17:27
Most of us can probably recall a time when we wish we talked less and listened more. Speaking at the wrong time, speaking out of turn, speaking when we are enraged, and speaking before we know the facts has put many people in trouble. Our devotion this morning centers on the mark of a man of wisdom and understanding. It focuses on being careful with our words and responses.
We must be careful to not allow the words of others, whether verbal or in writing, to adversely affect our spirit. Solomon said that a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Our prideful spirit delights in reacting to words spoken harshly to us with similar words. An excellent spirit is one that seeks peace first. My good friend Dr. R.B. Ouellette always responds to harsh words or criticisms against him by saying, “Thank you for caring enough to let me know this. I will take this under consideration.” His good spirit has fended off many hostile confrontations and kept friendships from becoming adversaries.
We should be careful not to answer our critics when personally attacked. Now, if the attack is against our belief in the Word of God or a personal, unjustified attack on our family, we should be prayerful in making sure the things that we are accused of are not true. However, our critics most often will attack an area of preference. Someone once said that when it comes to criticism, we must remember that we hold a bucket in each hand. One bucket is filled with gasoline, and the other is filled with water. The bucket that we choose to pour on the fire determines the disposition of the fire.
We should not respond to another person who speaks to us in anger or when his speech lacks proper reason. When the other person attacks us with hot and caustic words, we do well to be a man of knowledge and spare our words. Yes, our ego is bruised and we really want to set this erring person right, but the timing is not right. The Bible says, “a fool uttereth all his mind.” “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” We are also told not to answer a fool according to his folly. Don’t allow your good testimony to come down to the level of the person who is speaking to you in an angry mood.
We must ask ourselves this question: will my words lead to contention, strife, and division or to reconciliation, peace, and amicability? At the end of the day, a brother to be won is better than an enemy that is made. Wars happen because two sides become so hostile and stubborn about their positions that they would rather shed blood to prove who was right. We must remember that Jesus kept His silence in the face of His critics rather than mow them down by showing them how wrong and foolish they were. Some things are best to be kept silent.
Seek to be a Christian who has an excellent spirit. Keep a cool head, a controlled disposition, and a consecrated testimony. Don’t let a war of words become your downfall.
Have a peace-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 32-34