They’ll Listen When We Love

Golden Apple“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (Proverbs 17:28).

I have unnecessarily opened my mouth on several occasions recently.  You see, I am very passionate at giving my opinions on a variety of topics; from college-career advice to marriage and church-related advice, I have uttered countless syllables peppered with wisdom from years of experience.  The problem is my words were most likely not heard at all.  They fell on deaf ears and rightfully so!

My advice was unsolicited, and the majority of the receivers do not have an established relationship with me developed through genuine commitment over time.  In other words, I have not gained the right to speak into their lives because we do not share a long-standing relationship. I do not know them on a more intimate level.  I have not had time to show them I care yet.  Only in the case of one of these relationships have I earned the right to speak, but the timing in that case was way off!

I am reminded through the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  How true!  How many people do I actually listen to myself?  If the truth be told-not many!  And that is actually wise!

I love the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.  Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken (suited to the purpose or occasion; appropriate) is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  So much wisdom found there!  I am learning that knowing when to speak and when not to shows maturity.  It reflects thoughtful consideration to what we are saying and when we are saying it. It requires us to use fewer words when we do speak to make it count for something in the life of another.  I can ultimately speak sweet tasting, golden-apple-words that are well-received by the listener, but I must first pay my dues expressed through genuine love and concern.

Lord, help me to “spareth my words” (Proverbs 17:27) and understand there is certainly “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7).  Help me to let my actions do the talking most of the time.  Help me to listen more, love more, and patiently wait until asked before expressing my opinions.  Even I might be seen as wise if I am “quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19).

Holding my tongue,

Robin

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