The Most-Waived Right

A law enforcement friend told me that most often when he interviews a subject, he doesn’t have any problems getting information out of him. Most of us talk entirely too much, even when it hurts our cause.

In Romans 14, when Paul is dealing with controversies about meat sacrificed to idols and holy days and a whole manner of first century issues, he gives some surprising instructions: “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” (Romans 14:22 NIV)

Paul might agree that most of us talk entirely too much.

I have lots of opinions, feelings, ideas, and thoughts, and just like for you, all of them are correct. As my old friend “Makk Truck” used to say, “That’s my opinion and it ought to be yours!”

One of the great markers of wisdom is the ability to know when to share our genius insights and when to keep our mouths shut. I haven’t figured that one out quite yet, but if I ever do, should I tell you the secret?

Fortunately Paul gives us an answer anyway in Ephesians 4:29. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth.” Mostly you think of 4-letter words when you hear this line, and that’s true enough, but the word “corrupt” means something rotten that spreads decay. Can you think of a time when someone spoke to you in a way that let the air out of your tires? A time when gossip slandered a friend and poisoned a group? He continues, “…but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Let’s lean into our right to remain silent a little more, unless waiving that right builds up, fits the moment, and spreads grace.