Is It Necessary?
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Should we say something or refrain from commenting? Well, Ecclesiastes 3:7 reminds us that there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” In other words, we must determine if this is a moment to stay quiet or speak what’s on our heart and mind.
The apostle Paul gives us a clue when he wrote, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). In other words, when the other person needs to hear it, and we can convey it in a wholesome and uplifting way, then it is necessary to communicate.
Before we get into the heart of communicating what is necessary, let’s begin with a quick checklist to help us answer if it is necessary.
- If untrue, unkind, or unclear, then no, I will not communicate it. When is it ever necessary to say something that is a lie, mean, and confusing?
- If the other person is in need of hearing the truth, and I can communicate it kindly and clearly, then yes, I will communicate it. Because I care about the truth and because I care for the other person, I will courageously and kindly speak up in a way they understand. I will not remain silent. Though this book warns against speaking before thinking, the other side of this book asserts that when we conclude the other person needs the light of the truth, and we can speak it lovingly, respectfully, and coherently, then we ought to communicate it. We must speak up for the sake of the truth and for the sake of the other person.
- If yes, but it is not the right time, I will wait. For instance, we may need to wait because the other person is not ready to hear from us today because they have been up all night and need to rest. Or we need to wait until we can communicate face-to-face instead of over the phone. A basic rule is when in doubt wait twenty-four hours. When really upset and feeling like you are not your normal self, sit on saying anything in writing for at least a day.
Scriptural Meditation on Necessary Speech
Proverbs 10:19—When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
Ecclesiastes 5:3—Many words mark the speech of a fool. (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 6:11—The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone? (NIV)
Proverbs 29:20—Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Matthew 12:36—But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
Ephesians 4:29—Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Taken from Before You Hit Send by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD Copyright © 2017 by Emerson Eggerichs. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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