Throughout life and your walk with God, there will be battles. Some will be in the moment, when you have nearly no time to choose if you will stand or buckle under the pressure. Some will last a little while and then once God carries you through, it’s behind you forever. But some battles won’t be that quick and easy.
Some Battles are Ongoing.
And if you’re like me, one of those battles will be choosing when to speak up, to stand for what you believe or against what you feel is wrong, and when to step back. It’s not easy. It’s the moments in life when you are faced with a “What do I do now?” and you feel backed into a corner. Your palms are sweaty, the back of your neck tingling. It’s a fear of doing or saying something wrong. When you aren’t sure whether your words would make a situation worse or make it better. But in these moments, these trying times of uncertainty, we forget the tools that God has supplied us with in order to fight this internal battle.
Courage, Honesty, Kindness, and Discernment.
I know, I know. What in the world do those four things have to do with knowing when to speak and when not to speak? Let me explain to you exactly how these tools will be the most important things you will use when you are faced with uncertainty.
It won’t always be someone who is smaller than you or younger than you that you have to speak up to. There will be times when we are faced with someone much stronger, older, or sometimes more knowledgeable in certain areas. Remember when someone like this did something that you knew was wrong? When they were belittling someone you know and love? Or even someone you don’t know, but you felt the need to speak up for? Sometimes, in those circumstances, we are like David from the Bible. Small. Young. We don’t feel as if we have the strength or power to speak up. The good news is, God has equipped us with courage so that when He says speak, we don’t have to measure ourselves against someone else before doing so.
This one might be a little more obvious, but that doesn’t make it less important. It might not be a situation of someone bullying someone else in which you have to speak your part. It isn’t always that serious or dire. Sometimes, it’s when someone close to you asks your opinion on something that they need guidance on. Our first instinct as human beings would be to pet their feelings. To assure them that everything is fine and tell them what they want to hear. But that wouldn’t be using honesty. That would be giving up a tool God has given us. During these moments, God wants us to mix our courage with honesty and be open with the person. It may not always be roses and sunshine, but it’s for the good of you both.
Oddly enough, a lot of people seem to be missing this one. Some people have the courage down, and the honesty figured out, but they are lacking what makes those two things so powerful. God hasn’t called us to beat down our brethren with our words and opinions. God hasn’t called us to think we are bigger than anyone else just because we can speak his words. No. God has called us to love and to speak with love. Think about the words you want to say, are they edifying? Are they helpful? Or are you speaking them with a spiteful, jealous, or hurt tongue? If you aren’t using your words to speak encouragement, wisdom, or kindness onto someone else, then you should not speak at all. Make sure what you are going to say will be helpful and kind before ever letting yourself speak up.
and Lastly, Discernment.
This last one is the most important one. We can have courage, honesty and kindness within our hearts and words, but if God says, “Be silent, my child.” Then no matter of goodness we infuse into our speech will matter. There are times when God just wants us to be still and let Him do the work. Those are the times when we have to be close enough to God to receive the gift of discernment. To hear His leading in when to speak and when to remain silent. God will never leave you hanging. It might just be through an uneasiness in your spirit, or some random occurrence pulling you away from the moment in which you intended to speak that God tells you to let it be. In whatever way it is, use your discernment.
We won’t always do the right thing. We will mess up, stumble, and speak when we shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean we have failed in any way, it means we have a new level of experience in learning how to choose what’s right at what time.
Be kind to yourself, trust yourself, and trust in God. We have a voice for a reason, and when we wield it with Courage, Honesty, Kindness, and Discernment…it can be the most powerful weapon for seeing the world change.