The Challenge of Delaying Our Verbal Responses

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:4-5 ESV)

Sometimes there grievances that are better left unspoken. No matter how angry or hurt you may feel, the Lord suggests that you place your full trust in him to handle the matter. This is a hard thing to do because we want to be heard. We want to reassured that we aren’t crazy for feeling this way. We want someone to be on our side.

When we feel alone on an issue, God wants us to talk to him. To offer right sacrifices in this context is to confess our feelings and opinions to him only. And whatever he advises us to do, we should obey and not just consider it. It is often our pride that gets in the way, preventing us from hearing or listening to God. Consider what Proverbs 29:11 says:

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

The fool may not have all the facts and probably reacts with the wrong information, making the situation worse than necessary. A wise man patiently waits for everything to unfold while he collects as much information as possible before offering a verbal response. When we get caught in an argument or a rumor mill, we have the ability to pause and delay our response. Sometimes the best response is no response because the Lord will resolve the matters for us. Again, this isn’t easy to do because we feel like we need to take control of the narrative. But if we wait for the right moment by letting God prompt our action, he will guide us by providing the right words to say.

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