This one really hit home, considering yesterday's post about my insisting on explaining my views, an action which often agitates people. Usually, I only mean to explain, not tick someone off. This teaching is one that I should adopt strongly.
If I am more inclined to "make peace," then I will be less inclined to give my own opinion all the time. If my opinion is misinformed, or likely to irritate the listener, then by not giving it, I've kept the peace. If my opinion is right, then the listener might still become agitated to realize that they are wrong. Again, by not giving my opinion, I've kept the peace.
The hard part is knowing when and when not to give my opinion. We are told not to hide our light under a bushel, which to me, means we should not be shy about what we know, or about our talents. So, where do we draw the line between speaking out or speaking up, and keeping quiet?
I think the reason behind that decision should be my guidance. For example, if I know something, but nobody has asked me whether I know it, maybe I should just keep quiet. If keeping quiet, however, would allow harm to come to someone, then maybe I should speak up. Again, for example, if someone voices an opinion, which I know to be totally untrue or misleading, should I speak up? I think it depends on the likely outcome of their opinion.
It's really hard, isn't it, deciding when to speak up and when to just keep quiet? Yep, this issue definitely calls for prayer.
Dear God, you know I only mean well when I speak up, yet your own Son kept quiet at times when facing lies and humiliation and wrongful opinions. Fill me, please, with all the grace and gifts I need to know when to keep quiet and when to speak up, so that I truly can become a Peacemaker rather than a Peace-Breaker.