Do they make the pain go away? How do we know?
Ecc 3:1-8 (NKJV) “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Did you catch it? It’s in there. Buried amongst the somersaults of the passage, it shines for all to see. Read it again. What do you see?
I always wonder when to hold my tongue and when to offer my two cents. People who know me would say the latter wins most of the time. Sometimes to my regret and other times, incredible joy.
From experience, I know silence in the lieu of comfort can yield an angry heart. While a few words can’t erase a sleepless night or endless days of agony, it does offer awareness. The knowledge that someone is conscious of the suffering. That the path of pain while tread alone is not a lonely one.
In turn, my words have produced flares of impetuous anger. Lashes of temper that sear the soul and make me regret uttering a syllable. Once spoken, the words meant so much less. Silence would have been the better choice.
How do we know what to say? When to say it? Or if we should even open our mouths in the first place?
As the Lord says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time to everything. So next time you’re filled with words of wisdom for someone who is hurting, and you are bursting at the seams to share it, stop for a second. Ask yourself this question.
Will these words make the pain go away?
If they won’t, then examine the message, and decide… Is it better left unspoken? If not, pray hard and share it. Then be prepared for all sorts of reactions. Anger, mockery, laughter, joy…
Pain is a bitter companion. But God is stronger than even he.
Psalm 62:7 (NKJV) “In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”