Recently, I have been convicted by God (through several people) of my propensity to dominate a conversation. He has opened my eyes to the fact that I often lack a quiet and gentle manner when I have something I feel is important to say. I have discussed this before regarding listening, but apparently I have failed to completely change my spirit...so here I am again.
"The words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools." Ecclesiastes 9:17
Did God just call me foolish? Maybe...if so, I probably deserve it. Proverbs 31:26 tells us that a virtuous woman "...opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue are the laws of kindness." So this is telling me that speaking in wisdom, also means speaking quietly. Proverbs 29:11 says "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." So not only should we speak quietly, but consider carefully before venting our feelings. Words spoken in anger cannot be unspoken. We can apologize and be forgiven, but we cannot undo the hurt those words cause.
Our society is very "feeling" oriented. Humanism is defined by Wikipedia as "a worldview and moral philosophy that considers humans to be of primary importance." Our media is full of "self-actualization" and "self-esteem" and "self-discovery". People are encouraged to vent their feelings, no matter the cost to those around them. This philosophy has even found its way into our churches, carefully disguised in church doctrine, it is there nonetheless.
This attitude of "self" is the major contributor to moral decay in our country and our churches today. We open our mouths without thinking of the consequences to others, only considering serving our immediate need to share what we consider important. I am guilty of this...I have fallen into the trap of thinking that I have to have an opinion about everything and everyone needs to hear it.
But God teaches us to deny self, to die daily to self. The Bible teaches humility and servitude, characteristics not often appreciated in our culture today. We live in a culture that wants to take credit for all the good and place blame elsewhere for all the bad. Self-actualization does not include taking responsibility for one's actions. But my Bible tells me that I have no worth in self...my only value is in my personal relationship with God.
Elizabeth George uses a term "God"-confidence rather than self-confidence in her book "A Woman After God's Own Heart". Women are taught from a young age in our humanistic society to rely on themselves and to be self-confident. Parents spend unreal amounts of money for therapy for their children to build their self-esteem. But we fail to focus on the One who is the source of all confidence, value, and esteem.
I heard on K-LOVE this afternoon of a challenge to spend the next 30 days only speaking uplifting, positive and edifying words to others and to yourself. I would take it one step further and challenge you to not only speak positively, but to hold your tongue when you would normally not. Don't always be the one to share your opinion or comment on a conversation. Sit quietly and listen to those around you and you may gain more wisdom than you know!