by: Allen Domelle
“Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.”
Zophar made the mistake that many people make in thinking that he had to give an answer. After hearing his friends try to solve Job’s problems, he allowed his thoughts to provoke him into giving a foolish answer to the situation. If he would have been silent, that would have been the best answer he could have given.
Silence will oftentimes be the best answer. Oftentimes when we hear of situations that are happening, we enter into a conversation or arena where we have no business giving our input. There are many times when silence is the best answer. Let me show you when not saying anything will be the best answer.
First, silence is the best answer when you don’t know the whole story. Zophar didn’t know everything that was going on, but he thought he did. Knowing one side of the story doesn’t mean you know the whole story. When you have not heard both sides of a story, silence would be the wisest answer that you could give.
Second, when it is not your area of responsibility, silence is the best answer. Many people give their opinions about an area where they have no responsibility only to hurt their name and make a situation worse. If it is not your area of responsibility, you need to learn to be silent.
Third, silence is the best answer when you don’t know what to do. There is no shame in not knowing what to do. It is better not to give an answer than to give one that is wrong. You don’t know everything, and giving an answer about something which you know nothing about will only show your foolishness. Either wait to give an answer until you know what to do or refer the answer to someone who does know what to do.
Fourth, silence is the best answer when your answer won’t help. There are times when I have not given someone an answer because they already made up their mind as to what they were going to do. My answer wouldn’t have helped them because they were not going to heed my advice. I have learned in these types of situations that silence is the best answer.
Fifth, silence is the best answer when someone else has already answered. Trying to give an answer when the answer has already been given is only an attempt to show others your own importance or intelligence. Always remember that others can be right and you don’t always have to be the one who has an answer. If someone else has already given an answer, let it be and move on.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Silence can be the wisest response. When you are faced with the situations mentioned above, learn that silence will be the loudest and wisest answer you can give.