Time to Speak or Be Still?

Fear of conflict caused a man to hang his head and stand silently whenever his new wife falsely accused his children. In private, he assured them, “I know what she said isn’t true.” But he continued to let her berate them in his presence to “keep peace.”

His actions didn’t destroy his children’s love, but they did destroy their sense of security. And he lost their respect. He also lost his health, real peace, and the opportunity to grow strong in his weakness.

Most people tend to fall into one of two categories. Some thrive on conflict and lash out over slight irritations. They victimize people to keep from being seen as weak. Others go out of their way to avoid any level of conflict. Their weakness fails to protect truth and those in their charge. Both tendencies come from the flesh or our unholy human nature. These inclinations must be crucified (Galatians 5:25).

Conflict tightens my stomach. But seeing how an unwillingness to speak truth weakens families, churches, companies, and countries helps me draw on God’s strength and seek His guidance when battles come. On more than one occasion, like Jeremiah, I felt I had to speak even if doing so drew fire and brought no noticeable change in the attacker.

Seeing how an unwillingness to speak #truth weakens families, companies, and countries should help us seek God's guidance and #strength when battles come to us. Share on X

After one incident, I asked the Lord for wisdom and recalled Leviticus 19:17. Below are two different translations of this verse with my thoughts on them.

“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin (NLT).

Application: We risk becoming bitter when we refuse to deal with wrong. Pointing out the wrong provides an opportunity for the wrongdoer to repent.

This reminds me of Ezekiel 33:1-16 which talks about the call to be a watchman. If the watchman gives a warning and the people refuse to listen, their blood will be on their own heads. But if the watchman refuses to warn them, their blood with be on his head.

‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may certainly rebuke your neighbor, but you are not to incur sin because of him (NASB).

Application: This translation echoes the same warning. Stuffing resentment instead of addressing it leads to bitterness that spills out in sinful behavior. The second part continues the warning not to be drawn into sin because of them. We rebuke, but we must not retaliate. Their wrong is no excuse for us to do wrong. In other words, don’t become like them.

Are you facing a battle that you’d rather avoid? Do you feel God’s nudge to take a stand when you’d rather retreat or acquiesce? Take heart from the Lord’s words to Jeremiah.

‘You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:7-8 NIV).

Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers. Sometimes being a peacemaker means turning the other cheek. However, good peacekeepers always stand armed and ready to resist evil.

As King Solomon wrote,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7, 8 NIV).

May we seek God and follow His lead. Because remaining silent when we need to speak is just as harmful as speaking when we need to be quiet.

Comment here.

Blessings,

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory and here , #Let’sHaveCoffee#Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Denita Thomas

    So good! Well said!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thank you, Denita!

  2. J.D. Wininger

    Always wisdom-filled post my friend. I’ve learned through the years that there is a time when I need to “bind my mouth” and a time when I need to “shout it from the rooftop.” For me, it comes down to an emotional check. If I feel angry upset, or threatened, it’s best to keep my mouth shut and wait until I calm down. I remind myself of the difference between a juvenile snake and a mature one. A juvenile will bite and inject every bit of venom they have. A mature one will only inject that which experience has taught them is needed to be effective. Other times, when my emotions are stirred by a witnessed injustice or something/someone who stands in direct contrast to God’s Word, then I will stand indignant and call a “wrong” exactly that. I think of the poem by Niemoller, “First They Came”. I too, must not be silent as I see myself standing before my Judge one day in heaven and I do not want to hear, “Yet, you would not speak.” Convicting post my friend.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      That is a chilling poem and makes such a good point. Thanks for reminding me of it, J.D.

  3. Nancy E. Head

    Such an important message you have here, Debbie. There are times when we must not be silent. We must speak out and cause conflict to resolve it and find peace–or attempt to gain it. Great post. Thanks and God bless!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Nancy, the biblical stories of those commended for their faith often included battles they didn’t want. But when battles come, we must follow God’s lead, even when we aren’t guaranteed the result we hope for.

  4. Brian Thomas

    Excellent, wisdom-filled perspective!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thank you, Brian!

  5. Marilyn

    Flesh vs. Spirit – Wisdom &
    Discernment

  6. Renee Peebles

    Great word for today!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thank you, Renee.

    • Barbara Latta

      This is so powerful and filled with truth. Thanks for sharing, Debbie.

      • Debbie W. Wilson

        Thanks for reading, Barbara. I hope it helps people in their battles.

  7. Connie Jo Earls

    Amen Sister! Great devotional! Thank you! Praying for you!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thanks, Connie Jo.

  8. Ann J Musico

    Much wisdom here. I have to confess, I’ve never been one to seek out conflict and I’m finding it more and more difficult in today’s world to avoid it.

  9. Jerralea Winn Miller

    I hate conflict of any kind and go out of my way to avoid it. But as you said, “remaining silent when we need to speak is just as harmful as speaking when we need to be quiet.” I’m going to remember that.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Jerralea, we can learn from bad examples like we learn from good. Having witnessed the damage incurred when people refused to speak has helped me when God’s prompted me not to hide from conflict. But I’d rather Him send someone else!

  10. Annie Yorty

    Debbie, this is such an important topic. I recently did a quick study through Jeremiah and noted the verse you reference. As long as we’re following God, we need not be afraid of any confrontation. Jeremiah certainly gave a good example for us to follow.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Yes, Annie, I’m reading Jeremiah now. Sober warning!

  11. Donna Reidland

    Debbie, what an excellent post. Peacemaker Ministries has an excellent diagram on this subject. They call avoiding conflict peace faking and the opposite extreme peace breaking. Both are wrong and are not really peace making.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I like that Donna. Peace faking and peace breaking. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Lisa notes

    Yes! Knowing when to speak and when to be quiet is often a moving target. We need to be aware that we can err on either side and be discerning in each situation.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Yes we do. Thanks, Lisa.

  13. Glenda Shaw

    Thanks, Debbie.

    I need this to remind me of who I am. Because when my book is released late this summer, I have a relative that will tear it to pieces and me along with it. I need to stand on Matthew 10:32-36.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Glenda, may the Lord go before you and strengthen you and soften your relative’s heart towards Him.

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