The Wisdom of Not Responding

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Job 18:2 “How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.”

There are times when the best thing to say is to say nothing at all. Sometimes wisdom tells you not to respond. Just because somebody demands a response doesn’t mean you have to respond. Too often, we get ourselves into trouble because we feel like we always have to say something and never learn when to be quiet. Many relationships squabbles result from one side not having the wisdom to make an end of words. Just because you have a thought in your mind and feel like it would be a good response doesn't mean that you need to say it.

Job found himself in a contentious battle of words. His three friends that came to supposedly comfort him couldn't help themselves from saying hateful words. Every time they said something, Job would respond with a response. Likewise, every time Job would end a response; they felt they needed to respond themselves. Job’s statement about making an end of words and then speaking on shows the foolishness of always believing you need to respond. There is wisdom and not responding. Let me show you several times when no response is the wisest response.

First, don’t respond when arguing over preference. Often, a back-and-forth argument over preference ends up in an angry argument. Preference is nothing to argue over. Everybody has an opinion, and everybody believes their opinion is right, but just because you have an opinion doesn't mean that your opinion is right. Silence is often the best response to an argument over preference.

Second, don’t respond when a response makes no difference with what the other person says. There are times when what you say is not going to make any difference. It is in these times that no response is the best response. If what I say will not change the other person’s mind, then there is no purpose in continuing the conversation. If the other person is set in their mind about what they are saying, wisdom says to be quiet and not respond.

Third, don't respond when you are angry. The worst time to respond is when you are angry because you will say words that you will later regret. Many words have been spoken in the heat of an argument that has destroyed a good relationship. When you are angry, you will say things that you really don't mean, but the fact that you let the words come out of your mouth is what caused hurt in the other individual's heart. Sometimes you can win with what you said but lose by responding because you destroyed a good relationship with what you said.

Fourth, don't respond when what you say will result in a bitter relationship. Life is too short to destroy a friendship because you say what is on your mind. My friend, one day you will get old, and if you keep on destroying relationships because you don't know how to be silent, you will find yourself a lonely person when you get old. Be careful not to say something that will destroy a good relationship.

The secret; let the Holy Spirit do the work in the heart of the other person. Never try to do the work of the Holy Spirit yourself. He can respond better than you will ever do; therefore, stay silent and let the Holy Spirit resolve the differences in a disagreement. You will always win when you let the Holy Spirit resolve the difference by being silent.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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