There is a saying I once heard that goes something like this…”If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Now, in the past, I have always thought of this statement when my schedule becomes overtaken with appointments and my focus is non-existent. When I am so busy in the moment that I do not at all remember a conversation I had just 5 minutes before. However, since reading “Keep it Shut” by Karen Ehman, my thoughts on this saying have drifted towards being busy in our speech. You see…there are times when I think we just talk too much. Whether we are trying to fill silence or trying to appear ‘in the know’ about something, before we know it we have ‘thrown up’ a rambling mess of words that leave us asking ourselves later, “Where in the world did that come from?” Or “Why on earth did I say that?”
I remember years ago, I was sitting at my desk at work and someone came in starting to share some ‘juicy’ gossip. I continued what I was doing until my officemate said, “You aren’t even interested in hearing?” I responded, “Nope, not really,” and they carried the conversation elsewhere. If I’m being honest, in this moment I really remember not caring about whatever the latest news was…but that has not always been the case. I mean, come on…there is a reason someone said, “Curiosity killed the cat!” Here is what I know the truth to be though:
Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)
Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” (NIV)
Lately my Facebook feed has been filled with nothing but posts about the NFL players not standing for the National Anthem. Now, before you get worked up, let me start with saying this post is not designed to start a discussion about this ‘protest.’ The point is, I have seen over and over people becoming super upset in the comments following these initial posts. Everything from bashing the players, to name calling each other, to even ‘unfriending’ someone because of their opinion. Here’s the thing guys, there are thousands and thousands of things to become insulted about and agitated by…but is your response wholesome?
In “Keep it Shut,” Karen Ehman says, “No need for snark. No need for angry words or critical comments. Our mamas were right: If we can’t say something nice, we shouldn’t say anything at all. When we do speak, we can choose to be gracious rather than accusatory or negative. Our words must glorify God and not just exalt our own opinions.”
So friends…as we wrap up our study, will you think before you speak? Or will you KEEP. IT. SHUT?