Have you ever struggled with speaking out?
If I have learned anything over the past 30-40 years, there is a time to speak out, and a time to be quiet. Almost ecclesiastical. You know, Solomon-isc?
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which 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 together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, 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. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV)
Learning when it is time to speak, and time to be quiet… A hard won lesson at time. Martin Luther King made a comment that has stuck with me for a long time.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a time to be quiet, and a time to speak out. Do you know the difference? Incessantly chattering about nothing is stressful to those around you and it puts you in a strained position of friendship.
It was a stressed time of family. Abraham and Lot had split from each other, one to the plains and the other to the left overs. You would think the elder would have won the best place to be, but it was Lot who was allowed to chose. He chose the plains. He chose the cities.
But there came a time of trouble for Lot. His life in the cities had turned into a total mess. When it was time for God to judge and mete out necessary punishment. God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham this thing which I do?” As the sin and the punishment unfolded before Abraham, he spoke up to God:
“Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: ” (Genesis 18:27)
I have taken it upon myself to speak to God.
It takes a pretty big person to stand up to God, and then to bargain for the salvation of someone close. Someone who is guilty, and far from the place they should be. And if you find yourself in that position, realize that you need to know how far you can go in speaking out.
Just like our kids learn how far they can go in speaking out to us! Or the hired labor to the boss. Or how far I can go speaking out to my wife!
Even God took a moment to consider whether he should speak out to his friend, Abraham.
Take a moment. Think about the words you would like to say. Are they helpful, or hurtful? Do they lift up or tear down? Are they for your benefit, or for the recipients?
If it is not a positive, then learn the lesson. Don’t speak out.