I have very strong opinions. Luckily, most of the time, I’ve learned to keep them to myself—for which the world is eternally grateful. Over the years, I’ve discovered that my beautiful pearls of wisdom aren’t always appreciated. In fact, my bits of advice can sometimes be seen as downright annoying. It took a while for me to realize that I didn’t always have to speak my mind. At first, it was VERY difficult not to share my thoughts. I was certain that the WHOLE PLANET would benefit from my golden words of wisdom. Fortunately for the sanity of my family and friends, I’ve discovered that I’m not always the wisest person in the room. And most of the time, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut unless I’m directly asked for advice.
Over the years, there have been times when I’ve said something and immediately wished that I hadn’t. The most dramatic lesson I learned occurred when I was in college. I was spending a vacation with one of my friends. On the third day of my stay, my friend had an argument with her husband. I was in the room with them, and they were very open about what they were discussing. As the argument continued, I quickly formed an opinion. I felt that my friend’s husband was completely right. And I thought my friend was TOTALLY wrong. I knew exactly what to say to change her mind. I was sure that my opinion was necessary! I was positive that my input was VITAL.
As the argument continued, I opened my mouth to contribute, but before the words left my tongue. I heard the Lord speak. His voice wasn’t audible, but it was powerful. It was as if a message was dropped into my brain. The Lord simply said, “Excuse yourself and leave the room.”
I’m not always the brightest bulb in the box, but I know enough not to ignore a direct heavenly order. I meekly excused myself, went to the guest room, and shut the door. I curled up in the rocking chair by the bed and reached for my Bible. I didn’t have a good grip, and the Bible slipped and fell open on my lap. When I looked down, I saw Proverbs 21:23, “Keep your mouth closed and you’ll stay out of trouble.”
I had to laugh! Rolling my eyes at the ceiling, I asked, “God are you talking to me?”
Leaning back in the rocking chair, I closed my Bible and chuckled. I stayed in the guest room until my friend called me for lunch. By that time, her marital spat was over and things were back to normal. I’ve often wondered just what would’ve happened if I’d opened my big mouth and interfered. It’s quite possible that I would have lost a friend.
I learned a big lesson that day, and it’s one that I think about whenever I’m tempted to give an unsolicited opinion. Before I open my mouth, I ask myself if I’m about to yank a dog’s ears. Through experience, I’ve discovered that it’s great to have opinions, but most of the time, it’s even better not to voice them.