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  • Writer's pictureBy Pastor Andy Plank

Shut up or Speak Up?

February 5, 2023 . . .

I read an interesting text today. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

(Proverbs 26:4-5 NKJV) At first glance, these verses seem contradictory. But the more I pondered this, I think maybe I have an understanding and if I understand correctly (and I think I do) Solomon’s advice is good advice for us today as well. Here is the Plank’s Paraphrase of these two verses. “There is a time to shut up, and there is a time to speak up.” Sometimes, when a fool is speaking, the best thing to do is to let him keep speaking. If you interrupt him or her, you will be considered just as much a fool as they are! On the other hand, sometimes when a fool is speaking, we need to interrupt them in order to help them get back on the right path. The only question that remains is, when do we speak up and when do we shut up? That question can be answered in one word and that word is discernment. Most people in our world today, myself included, need a healthy dose of discernment. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t have to participate in every argument that is thrown our way. Let me give you an example from the life of Jesus. During His lifetime, how many times do you suppose Jesus went into the temple? Every time He entered, He passed right by those pesky moneychangers doing their business. Of all the times Jesus passed them by, He only threw a fit (and some tables as well) twice. Once in the beginning of His ministry and once at the end. How did Jesus know when to speak up and when to shut up? He had discernment. The next question is, how do you go about getting discernment? Once again Jesus helps us here. In Mark 1:32-29, Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James, and John have spent a long day in Capernaum. Jesus had spent the day teaching in the synagogue, casting demons out of a man and healing Peter’s mother-in-law. When night fell, they went to the home of Peter and Andrew. When they got there, the townsfolk brought their sick, diseased, and demon possessed people to Jesus for healing. Early the next morning, before daylight, Jesus left the house, found a solitary place, and spent time alone with God in prayer. A little later, His Apostles found Him and informed Him that the townspeople were looking for Him. What happens next is a little surprising. Jesus tells them, “Let’s go on to other towns, so I can preach there as well.” Here’s another question for you. How did Jesus know when it was time to leave? Well, it’s that word discernment again. Where did Jesus get discernment? From spending time with God alone in prayer, that’s how. I need to remember that just because someone puts a baited hook in front of me, I don’t have to bite it! Neither do you. There is a time to speak up and there is a time to shut up and may God help us learn what time it is!

Be blessed and be a blessing . . . Bro. Andy

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