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Dear COA Family,

In our contemporary living, we are often urged to make our opinions known. If not, others will ignore us or, worse still, trample over our rights. Even from young, children are trained in schools to speak up to promote themselves and make themselves heard.

Yet the bible teaches us that silence at the right times is crucial. So, when is it better to keep quiet?

1. When you are about to be caught in a trap by what you say

One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.
“Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”
He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
 (Luke 20:1-8)

Jesus knew that his authority from the Father was obvious. His teachings and miracles displayed God’s hand on him. There was no need to defend his ministry. He also knew that any answer he gave would be twisted by his enemies. If he claimed that his authority was from God, he would be accused of pride and blasphemy. If he claimed that it was not, he would be lying. So, he chose instead to stay silent.

2. When you will be ridiculed for whatever you say

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. (Luke 23:8-11)

At this point, there is no use giving any verbal answers to fight for your rights. Instead, it is best for you to put your trust in God to protect you and defend you in the midst of fierce onslaughts. And God is able to establish you and make you stand before your accusers.

3. When you are before Almighty God (or someone with greater authority)

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

In this situation, it is better to hear God’s word than to speak. You will learn more from listening than spewing out what you know out of your limited understanding.

Ultimately, the bible teaches us that if we keep silent at the right time, it is the wisest thing to do.

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. (Proverbs 17:27-28)

May we live in God’s wisdom for this coming week!

Revd Ian