Minimize Your Words to Maximize Your Witness
This topic has been running through my mind all day: we must learn to listen more than we speak.
I met someone new today and he’s one of those guys that moves through life extremely slow, or so it seems. Do you know the type?
I mean, you sit down for a meeting together during a busy day, and you’ve got a huge list of tasks to complete, and they act like they have nothing to do for the next two months. Yet, they’re somebody important and they meet all their deadlines…
These people drive me insane! They frustrate me! It’s like they’re always on time, but they’re never in a hurry to do anything. Man, if I could be honest, even though they bug me, they minister to me each time I run into someone like this.
They stick out to me by their words mostly. While meeting with them, the conversation is alive, but they aren’t trying to fill the dead space with empty words. They’re not necessarily conversationalists. They’re just quiet and only really say what needs to be said.
Now, I’m not saying that we should never speak unless we have critical information to give. What I am saying is that we should minimize our words. Don’t eliminate all your words, but use less of them.
Watching theological debates is really enjoyable to me. Today, I watched a debate online that lasted about two hours. There were a lot of good responses from both sides. But things started to heat up after an hour or so.
There seemed to be less listening and more reacting as the debate continued on. It’s hard to remember this in the heat of a debate, but the way you respond to someone is a witnessing tool by itself.
Good theology matters, and so does our demeanor. I believe that we maximize our witness when we keep our words to a minimum. Don’t be so quick to respond and win the argument. Think about winning them. Slowly.
You can tell when a dialogue becomes a “fight to be right”. At that point, a timeout is in store because progress comes to a standstill. Words need to be minimized and everyone needs to just slow down.
The Bible instructs us to minimize our words. One passage I’ve been wrestling with this week is Proverbs 17:27–28 — “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
We should avoid being someone who rushes through things. Things are moving quickly as it is. We should find a healthy pace for doing what God calls us to do. Be content today to do what needs to be done.
Do you find that your movement through life — whether it’s your workload or your relationships — is on the slower side or the faster side? Do you know someone who moves super slow or super fast? What kind of fruits blossom from that kind of life?